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Late Drive Seals Victory

September 15, 2003|From Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Kordell Stewart and Chicago showed some spunk, but Minnesota was just better Sunday night.

The Bears might have to get used to that this season.

Could take a little adjusting for the Vikings too.

Moe Williams rushed 21 times for 108 yards and a touchdown, and Daunte Culpepper threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jim Kleinsasser to lead Minnesota to a 24-13 victory.

The Vikings, who rushed for 202 yards, are 2-0 for the first time since 2000 when they went to the NFC championship game.

Culpepper was 20 of 26 for 214 yards, no interceptions and one lost fumble. Minnesota had 25 first downs to Chicago's 10 and had 400 total yards to the Bears' 208.

The Vikings went 11-21 the last two seasons.

"This year we're smart, we fight, and we finish the job," Culpepper said.

Stewart was much better than he was in an embarrassing debut last week, completing 13 of 21 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown to David Terrell.

Stewart left late in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent strained neck. On a pass play, Stewart was hit hard by Lance Johnstone and came down awkwardly on the turf. He lay on the ground for several moments before being helped to the sideline. Stewart's condition wasn't immediately known.

Chris Chandler came on and his pass was intercepted by Brian Russell near midfield to clinch it for Minnesota as the depleted Bears fell to 0-2. They lost to San Francisco, 49-7, in the opener.

"It was a whole lot better in the fourth quarter than it was a week ago," Bear Coach Dick Jauron said. "We had a chance."

Leading by only four with 12:38 remaining, the Vikings wore the Bears out with a 93-yard, 16-play drive. Culpepper capped it with a scoring pass to Kleinsasser on third-and-goal from the 11 with 2:56 left.

Hopes that Bear fans had in their club bouncing back from last week seemed gone when the Vikings took a 7-0 lead just 63 seconds in.

After John Avery returned the opening kickoff 34 yards, Culpepper found a wide-open Kelly Campbell for 51 yards on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage. Chicago lost a challenge that Campbell was out of bounds, and Williams scored on a one-yard plunge two plays later.

The Bears didn't fold, though. They could've easily gone ahead, had they been able to build on any of their big plays.

"We were definitely more effective than last week," wide receiver Dez White said.

"We were right in the game," guard Corbin Lacina said. "We felt good about what we were doing. It just didn't work out for us."

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