MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- As its injury list grew longer, Minnesota's
high-powered offense was consistently limited to low-risk plays by
Chicago's cover-2 defense.
But the Vikings passed this patience test against the similarly
"We just take whatever the defense gives us," said Onterrio
Smith, who rushed for 94 yards and caught six short passes for 104
yards out of the backfield.
Minnesota (2-1) has a week off to heal, but Chicago (1-2) hosts
unbeaten Philadelphia next week with several ailing starters.
Quarterback Rex Grossman scored on a 6-yard scramble at the
2-minute warning, but he sprained his right knee on the play and
left the stadium wearing a brace and using a crutch. He went
21-for-31 for 248 yards.
"We have faith in him and have confidence in him," coach Lovie
Culpepper completed 19 of 30 passes for 360 yards, 119 of them
to Moss. The Vikings never found a rhythm, but they made enough
long gains to control a game otherwise bogged down by injuries,
penalties, turnovers, more injuries and more penalties.
"All that matters is we got a win," Culpepper said. "It
wasn't all good or all pretty, but we've got to learn to win games
Thomas Jones rushed for 110 yards and added 71 yards receiving
for Chicago, which had to settle for three field goals by Paul
Edinger on its first five possessions inside the Minnesota 20.
"You have to score touchdowns on the road," said Lovie Smith,
whose team was coming off an impressive 21-10 victory at Green Bay.
The Bears pulled within 20-15 on a nine-play, 79-yard drive,
capped on a 1-yard TD run by Jones. The 2-point conversion failed.
Morten Andersen, who made field goals of 42 and 24 yards for
Minnesota, broke George Blanda's NFL record for career games played
when he missed a 46-yard kick in the first quarter. This was the
44-year-old Andersen's 341st appearance, spanning 23 seasons.
Bears free safety Todd Johnson added some tension when he
lowered his head and leveled the Vikings' Nate Burleson to break up
a fourth-quarter pass. Moss didn't like it, so he confronted
Johnson -- igniting a brief scrum that knocked off back judge Keith
Ferguson's cap. Johnson was penalized for a late hit.
"People give him a hard time sometimes about running out of
bounds and not taking a hit," Burleson said of Moss, "but he's as
tough as it comes."
Culpepper, whose two first-half fumbles were recovered by the
Vikings, spent much of the half running away from a strong Bears
rush led by defensive end Adewale Ogunleye. The AFC's sack leader
with Miami in 2003, Ogunleye faced substitute Adam Haayer, who
started for injured right tackle Mike Rosenthal.
Minnesota's top two tight ends, Jim Kleinsasser and Jermaine
Wiggins, were also out. Pro Bowl center Matt Birk sprained his left
ankle in the second quarter, and the Vikings lost two starting
linebackers to first-half injuries -- Chris Claiborne (strained left
calf) and E.J. Henderson (sprained left knee). Wide receiver Marcus
Robinson also aggravated a hamstring injury he first suffered in
"We'll just continue to battle our way through the injury
bug," coach Mike Tice said.
But Chicago had plenty of health problems, too. Star middle
linebacker Brian Urlacher missed his first career game with a
pulled hamstring, three other defensive starters were out, and
backup strong safety Bobby Gray's game ended when he hurt his
shoulder in the second quarter.
"We still have 13 games to go," Lovie Smith said. "That's why
there's 53 guys on the roster."
Moss had his moments, including a 44-yard reception on
third-and-24 early in the third quarter, but Smith was the Vikings'
Later on that drive, Smith rambled for 38 yards, juking
defenders with a pair of nifty stutter-steps, and set up a 1-yard
plunge by Culpepper that gave the Vikings a 17-6 lead.
"The defense was focused on stopping Moss. Period," strong
safety Mike Green said.
Birk and Claiborne might be ready for Minnesota's next
game, Oct. 10 at Houston, but Henderson will be out longer, Tice
said, from two to six weeks. ... Chicago had 14 penalties for 101
Earl Campbell told ESPN that he wants to sit down and talk with Johnny Manziel, hoping that their common ties in the state of Texas will help the former running back connect with the quarterback.
Broncos safety Shiloh Keo faces a charge of driving under the influence in Idaho.
The Dolphins made their first pair of significant roster cuts Friday, and there are several more who are in danger of being on the chopping block.
Mike Vick, who started three games for the Steelers while Ben Roethlisberger was hurt, is taking a break in Dubai as he prepares for free agency.
In a roundup of recent Seahawks news, there's a report out that backup QB Tarvaris Jackson will likely seek to test the market once free agency opens.
The Redskins will dabble in free agency but aren't likely to make a big splash; most of their needs are on the defensive side.