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Patience Pays Off for Vikings' Culpepper

October 28, 2002|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Daunte Culpepper showed some patience, and for once, the Minnesota Vikings forced more turnovers than they committed.

Keeping the ball for more than 41 minutes thanks to a surprisingly tough defense, the Vikings defeated banged-up Chicago, 25-7, Sunday, handing the Bears their fifth consecutive loss.

Culpepper completed 22 of 29 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His fumble was the Vikings' only turnover. The Vikings recovered a fumble, intercepted two passes and had six sacks.

Culpepper committed 16 turnovers -- including 12 interceptions -- in the first six games, and Coach Mike Tice indicated Culpepper might not have been secure as the starter until Sunday.

"Our quarterback played with a smile on his face," Tice said. "He was determined to show that he should have that job. I'm happy for him."

Culpepper said he wasn't worried about being benched.

"I feel he has confidence in me or I wouldn't be there," Culpepper said. "I remind myself to be patient, and when I do that, good things happen."

Randy Moss had nine receptions for 119 yards, Gary Anderson kicked three field goals and Michael Bennett rushed 29 times for 106 yards to lead the Vikings (2-5).

After a rather drowsy first half, Culpepper caught the Chicago secondary sleeping on the fifth play of Minnesota's first third-quarter possession. He threw a perfectly placed ball to Moss in the corner of the end zone on first down for a 39-yard touchdown play and a 20-0 Viking lead.

Culpepper excitedly hopped on his way to the sideline.

"I was harping on myself all week that if it's not there, don't force it," Culpepper said. "Randy's been there all year, and when I've tried to force it to him a few times, bad things have happened."

Chris Chandler was 15 for 25 for 176 yards with an interception for the Bears (2-5). Anthony Thomas was limited to 18 yards in nine carries.

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