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MINNESOTA 31, DETROIT 24

Finally, a Team Vikings Can Beat

October 14, 2002|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — After a shaky start, Daunte Culpepper and the Minnesota Vikings picked up the offensive tempo and their first win.

Culpepper threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to rally the Vikings past the Detroit Lions, 31-24, Sunday.

"I can't tell you exactly how good this feels after losing four I felt we should have won," Culpepper said.

Moe Williams got the clinching touchdown on a two-yard run with 2:12 to play. Culpepper had a 25-yard completion to Randy Moss, their longest connection of the day, to set up the score.

The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Vikings (1-4). The skid began last season when the Lions, then 0-12, beat Minnesota at the Metrodome.

"We knew good things were eventually going to happen and today we made plays down the stretch and good things happened for our ballclub," Byron Chamberlain said.

After trailing for three quarters, Minnesota tied it on Culpepper's 45-yard screen pass to Michael Bennett, who eluded several defensive backs for the score with 5:25 left.

The Lions (1-4) started at their 19 on the next possession, and Chris Hovan batted away a third-down pass by Joey Harrington.

The Lions had a final chance when Harrington drove them from their 31 to the Minnesota eight. The rookie kept the drive going with a 23-yard pass to Az-Zahir Hakim on third down.

But on second and goal, Corey Chavous picked off Harrington's pass to the corner to clinch Mike Tice's first NFL coaching victory.

"This is a big win because we came from behind and scored a bunch of points in the fourth, and held them when we had to and made a big defensive play at the end," Tice said.

The interception spoiled an otherwise solid performance by Harrington, who was 25 for 41 with 309 yards and two touchdowns.

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