Randy Ratio vs. Right Read

It's a balancing act for Daunte Culpepper. While the Vikings still believe in the numbers produced by the Randy Ratio, they are also happy with Culpepper's ability to make the correct read according to what the coverage dictates.

The "Randy Ratio" was discovered by accident, not design.

During the offseason, when Tice and assistants began studying film to examine trends and tendencies of the offense and Randy Moss, the correlation of Moss pass plays to Vikings wins wasn't even being monitored.

"When we did that study we weren't looking for that," said Tice. "We were looking for when the ball was thrown his direction, how many explosive plays Randy had … so we fell into that."

The ratio, of course, is that if 40 percent of the team's passes were initially intended to go to Moss, the team wins 80 percent of those games. (The Vikings were 4-1 in that instance last year).

That doesn't mean the Vikings will force passes to Moss when he is being covered by two or even three defenders. There are other options, and so far Culpepper has explored them.

Tice first noticed Culpepper's decision-making maturity during the preseason. "We had a game where eight plays in a row I called for Randy Moss to get the ball," Tice said. "In those eight plays, Culpepper threw to someone else because that's what the coverage dictated.

"We're very proud of Daunte."

Culpepper threw for 3,937 yards in his first year as a starter and had a quarterback rating of 98.0. Last season, he fought injuries as well as a personal slump. He threw for 2,612 yards and saw his QB rating dip to 83.3.

After missing the final five games of the season last year, Culpepper appears to be healthy. With the new Randy Ratio in place, as well as confidence in first-year Vikings receivers D'Wayne Bates and Derrick Alexander, Culpepper believes his 2002 productivity will mirror that of 2000, not 2001.

"I feel great," Culpepper said. "More importantly, I feel great about this team."

The lack of harmony in the locker room, as well as on the field has been well documented. Culpepper doesn't see that this season.

"It's a close-knit group," he said. "We have some new faces around, but we've had a lot of practices. They're not really new guys anymore since a lot of the guys have been around here since March."

Ever since the draft, it seems the Vikings have been conducting developmental camps and minicamps. The opening of training camp in Mankato seemed as if it were nothing more than an extension of their summer workouts.

Because of that, several Vikings have said the team isn't full of players who are foreign to each other. That, they've said, will lead to a closer group.

"I'm very excited about the personnel we have," Culpepper said. "When you talk about expectations, I don't think anybody's expectations or what they think about the team matter to us. Our expectations of ourselves is what matters. Our expectations are that we go out and play winning football every game."

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