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PRO FOOTBALL : Vikings Overcome Quarterback Troubles Again

November 16, 1987| From Times Wire Services

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have more trouble finding a No. 1 quarterback than they do winning.

For the second straight week, the Vikings trailed at halftime without scoring a touchdown and went on to win after switching quarterbacks.

Sunday, Tommy Kramer replaced Wade Wilson and the Vikings ended up beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-17.

Last week, Wilson relieved Kramer in a 31-20 victory over the Raiders.

Against the Bucs, Kramer completed 4 of 9 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown and was intercepted once as the Vikings improved to 5-4 and dropped their NFC Central opponent to 4-5.

Wilson completed 9 of 18 passes for 97 yards and was not intercepted before he was benched at halftime.

Minnesota's Darrin Nelson rushed 17 times for 104 yards.

The Vikings used a strong pass rush to come up with an interception, three fumble recoveries and four sacks of Steve DeBerg.

DeBerg completed 22 of 37 passes for 284 yards, including touchdown pass plays of 20 yards to Calvin Magee in the first quarter and 64 yards to Phil Freeman to close out the scoring. The Buccaneers ran the ball just 9 times for 15 yards.

"We might not run it again all year," Buc Coach Ray Perkins said. "We're going to do what we do best and that's throw the ball."

Viking Coach Jerry Burns said he made the quarterback switch because the offense wasn't moving the ball. "The only way you can change chemistry on the field is to change the quarterback," Burns said.

On his first series, Kramer completed two passes and had two fall incomplete. Then on the ninth play of the drive, Tampa Bay's Rod Jones interfered with Hassan Jones in the end zone, giving Minnesota a first down on the one. Rookie Rick Fenney bulled in for the touchdown and a 13-7 Vikings lead with 10:58 left in the third quarter.

Tampa Bay answered with a 26-yard field goal by Donald Igwebuike three minutes later to make it 13-10.

Minnesota's Neal Guggemos returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards and the Vikings moved to the Bucs' five before stalling. Chuck Nelson kicked a 26-yard field goal to make it 16-10.

The Vikings stretched their lead to 23-10 when Chris Doleman, switched from linebacker to defensive end, knocked the ball out of DeBerg's grasp and Keith Millard made his second fumble recovery. Three plays later, Kramer rolled right on a bootleg and tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Steve Jordan.

The Buccaneers made it 23-17 with 7:55 left when, on third and 24, Freeman hauled in a pass that bounced off the hands of cornerback Wayne Smith and raced 64 yards.

Another Tampa Bay drive to the Minnesota 37 was stopped when Wymon Henderson intercepted DeBerg and returned it 17 yards to the Vikings' 42.

There were 18 penalties--nine against each team--in the game watched by 48,605, the Vikings' smallest non-strike crowd since Dec. 20, 1981.

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