MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Playing in Minnesota never seems to work out
well for the Green Bay Packers.
Question on the Packers: Any significant reason why Favre struggles annually in the Metrodome?
It's a mystery. For years, Favre has struggled inside on turf (he's now 2-9 in the Metrodome). I believe it's more than Brett Favre's problem -- it's a team thing. And the problem is more mental than physical. Physically, the Packers are a better team than the Vikings. But you could see it in the Packers' facial expressions and body language -- they need to get past that mental block.
Question on the Vikings: Will this win spark them, or should we expect them to struggle at New England next week?
I think they'll struggle again. The Vikings played inspired defense today against a divisional rival. But in the weeks to come, outside of their domed home (like in New England next week), I believe they'll continue to struggle.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
Not even with the league's best record. Not even against the
worst Vikings team in nearly two decades.
"At some point before I retire,'' Favre said, "I'd like to get
another win in here.''
The Packers (8-2) have lost nine of 11 at the Metrodome and
missed out on a chance to become the earliest team to clinch a
division title in a 16-game season.
"We did have opportunities to win,'' coach Mike Sherman said.
"I want them to be mad, I want them to be disappointed. But at the
same time, be ready for next week.''
Michael Bennett ran for 130 yards on 20 carries for his fourth
straight 100-yard game. His 62-yard run just before the 2-minute
warning in the fourth quarter set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Moe
Williams -- his 10th of the year for the Vikings (3-7).
Minnesota's 31st-ranked defense held Ahman Green to 71 yards and
kept Favre -- who was 24-of-42 for 296 yards and two touchdowns --
completely out of rhythm in the fourth quarter.
"We had to keep people in his face and keep the pressure on
him,'' defensive end Kenny Mixon said. "If we don't get a sack,
but we get an interception, we'll take it.''
Playing a zone almost exclusively, the Vikings took a 24-21 lead
on Gary Anderson's 32-yard field goal with 7:16 left and forced two
straight three-and-outs before Bennett's run put the game away.
Randy Moss caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, and
Culpepper -- adding three more turnovers to his league-high total of
22 -- was 13-for-26 for 217 yards and lost one of his three fumbles.
But after being benched in favor of Todd Bouman for the fourth
quarter last week, he responded with several completions and
sack-avoiding scrambles in critical situations.
"I feel like I can make a lot of plays in this league for a
long time,'' Culpepper said. "I just have to play like myself.''
Down by two scores in the third, Favre threw a 24-yard pass to
Bubba Franks on fourth-and-1. After Lance Johnstone's second
third-down roughing-the-passer penalty, Favre found Franks again
for a 1-yard TD pass that cut the lead to 21-14.
Biekert intercepted Favre twice, but both times Culpepper gave
Green Bay the ball right back. Biekert returned his second pick to
the Green Bay 5, but Culpepper fumbled the snap on third-and-goal
at the 1.
Early in the fourth, Favre completed a third-and-10 pass to
Donald Driver, whose catch and run turned into an 84-yard TD that
tied the game at 21.
The game began ominously for the Packers, as it has so many
times for them in Minnesota over the last decade.
Last season, Green Bay came with a 4-1 record and fell behind
20-0 at halftime. Sure enough, Minnesota went up 14-0 barely eight
minutes into this game and made 10 first downs to Green Bay's one
in the first quarter.
Working without a huddle, Culpepper threw TD passes, a 29-yarder
to Moss and an 18-yarder to D'Wayne Bates, on the Vikings' first
"It got us in a rhythm,'' Culpepper said. "The defense
couldn't sub in and out and couldn't disguise very well.''
Late in the first half, the Packers drove 63 yards to pull to
14-7 on Green's 1-yard touchdown run. Thirty of those yards came on
Minnesota took the momentum back in the third quarter with an
81-yard drive, 28 coming on a pass interference penalty on
Williams. Culpepper scored on a rollout, his fifth rushing TD of
the season, to make it 21-7.
By changing quarterbacks last week, Vikings coach Mike Tice
wanted his starter to step back and clear his head.
"That was the intention,'' coach Mike Tice said. "I think it's
a huge game for Daunte's confidence.''
And also for the Vikings, whose first season with Tice has been
"This doesn't cure anything,'' Tice said. "We're still a 3-7
But as always in this rivalry, records really don't matter much.
"Every time I played over here, it's been that type of game,''
Favre said. "We always get their best, and today was no
Packers guard Marco Rivera sprained his right knee in the
first quarter and didn't return. ... Moss broke Jerry Rice's record
for most yards receiving in his first five seasons with 6,160. ...
The teams combined to be penalized 25 times for 223 yards.
Edgerrin James was the do-everything player for the Indianapolis Colts during his seven seasons with the franchise.
J.J. Watt can become the first four-time AP Defensive Player of the Year next season after joining Lawrence Taylor as a three-time recipient Saturday.
Running back Terrell Davis' résumé is far more about quality and playoff excellence than simple longevity.
The No. 19 pick in the 1951 draft, Dick Stanfel made the All-Pro team five times in seven seasons.
Orlando Pace first visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was in high school. He'll return this summer as a member.
Kevin Greene found himself in the unenviable spot of being all too familiar with the hurry-up-and-wait approach that goes with being on the ballot.