Vikes Won't Commit To No-Huddle

The players like it. The fans like it. It's been successful. Yet, Mike Tice isn't ready to commit to the no-huddle offense on a full-time basis.

Prior to the Green Bay game, VU's Bob Lurtsema gave a nudge to a staffer and told him to keep an eye out for no-huddle formations early in the game. Lurts was right. The Vikings came out in a no-huddle the first two drives of the game and put up 14 points early on the Packers and never trailed.

Convinced they could run on the Patriots, the Vikings held off on the no-huddle vs. New England, but, after falling behind 21-0, that changed. The Vikings kicked it into gear and scored 17 straight points to make a game out of a blowout.

So, many think the Vikings are going to bring back the no-huddle today and keep using it much more the rest of the season. Don't bet on it.

There are inherent problems with the no-huddle, but, those teams that use it do it well. For years in Buffalo, Jim Kelly's K-Gun Offense terrorized the AFC and led to four straight Super Bowl appearances. But, the reason for its success was that the Bills had a defense that could make up for the failures of the K-Gun by returning to the field just a minute or two after leaving the field. When the no-huddle works, it's great. When it doesn't, a young defense like the Vikings can get abused.

The other teams that use the no-huddle are all from the old AFC East. Peyton Manning loves it because it allows him to call his own plays, instead of infuriating coaches by simply audibling out of what they called. The Patriots ran it with Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady and Bledsoe has brought it with him to Buffalo. But the reason it worked in New England is because Bill Belichick's defense is always prepared to win a 6-3 game.

While it may be cool and the flavor of the month for the Vikings, the no-huddle is most effective when mixed with a conventional style of offense. When you have the league's No. 1 rushing offense, you have to consider running the ball and working the clock. But, expect to see the Vikings go no-huddle at least once in each half Sunday and look for the same spark it has provided the last two weeks.

SUNDAY NOTES
* Michael Vick is his most dangerous on third down and most people assume it's because of his ability to run. Guess again. He has a 112.5 passer rating on third down with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
* The biggest affirmation you can give Vick is not his running, but his passing. Daunte Culpepper has 16 interceptions in 384 passes -- one pick for every 24 passes. Vick has thrown just 252 passes, but been intercepted only twice -- one for every 126 passes!
* Culpepper is 417 yards shy of 3,000 yards for the season. He would have been looking for his third straight 3,000-yard year, but missed the final five games last season.
* Culpepper has yet to play a full season in the NFL. Although he started all 16 games in 2000, he played just one series vs. the Colts in a meaningless game that got Denny Green a lot of heat when Culpepper reaggravated a high ankle sprain.
* Randy Moss is 12 receptions short of his career high of 82.
* Moss' 70 receptions is the greatest disparity between a No. 1 and No. 2 receiver on a team in the league. The Vikings second-leading receivers are Jim Kleinsasser and Moe Williams with 26 catches each. Heading into Thursday's game, only the Redskins had a No. 2 receiver with fewer receptions (and he had 25).

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