Stringer-less Vikings defeat New Orleans


Daunte Culpepper threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss and ran 11 yards for another score as the Minnesota Vikings got back to football after the death of Korey Stringer with a 28-21 victory over New Orleans on Saturday night. The Vikings have been in turmoil since July 31 when Stringer, the Pro Bowl offensive tackle, collapsed following a practice in Mankato, Minnesota, and died the following day of heatstroke. Vikings players wore football-shaped patches on the left side of their jerseys bearing Stringer’s No. 77 and joined the 46,752 fans in the Alamodome in a moment of silence before the kickoff. Culpepper, who rushed four times for 66 yards and was 3-for-8 for 75 yards passing, wasted no time in getting the Vikings thinking about football, leading them to a 21-7 halftime lead before sitting down for the rest of the game. Browns 10, Packers 3 In Cleveland, Tim Couch threw a touchdown pass and rookie running back James Jackson ran for 66 yards, leading Cleveland over Green Bay in Butch Davis’ first game as Browns coach. Davis was hired in January to turn around a franchise, which went just 5-27 in two dreadful seasons under Chris Palmer. Colts 28, Seahawks 21 In Indianapolis, just 12 days after signing with Indianapolis, Mark Rypien played a little more than a half to lead Indianapolis to a come-from-behind victory over Seattle. Rypien, the 1992 Super Bowl MVP, completed 12-of-20 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in his first action in an NFL game since 1997. Trent Dilfer, another former Super Bowl quarterback who signed with the Seahawks last week, was 6-of-8 for 58 yards and one touchdown, but he was sacked twice and under pressure other times. Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks’ new starting quarterback, was 11-of-19 for 139 yards. Falcons 20, Jets 10 In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Doug Johnson, who started twice in his four appearances last year after making the Falcons as an undrafted free agent — looked poised and threw for a touchdown to lead Atlanta over New York. Johnson was 8-for-16 for 98 yards. Michael Vick, the Falcons rookie quarterback, threw for 24 yards and ran for 24 more. Titans 27, Bears 24 In Nashville, Tennessee, Steve McNair started despite practicing only once a day the past week, and threw a touchdown pass as Tennessee held off Chicago. The Titans (1-0) led 27-10 in the fourth quarter when the Bears (1-1) nearly rallied for a second straight week. Danny Wuerffel, who helped Chicago beat Cincinnati in overtime last week, started the rally with an 11 yard TD toss to rookie David Terrell with 706 left.

Broncos 20, Cowboys 6 In Irving, Texas, Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson were virtually even in their first preseason battle to become Denver’s featured running back, and quarterbacks Brian Griese and Gus Frerotte were sharp as the Broncos beat Dallas. Griese led Denver (1-0) to field goals on his two series, then Frerotte guided a 13-play, 80-yard drive on his first possession for a 13-0 lead. Chargers 25, 49ers 24 In San Diego, Dave Dickenson threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie DeRonnie Pitts with 39 seconds left, then hit Patrick Batteaux with the conversion pass to lift San Diego over San Francisco. Dickenson set up the TD pass with a 23-yarder to Batteaux on fourth-and-19. The Chargers looked radically different from the beginning, when new starter Doug Flutie led them to touchdowns on their first two possessions, including a 7-yard pass to Curtis Conway. Flutie, signed by the Chargers after being released by Buffalo, was 8-of-10 for 70 yards. Raiders 10, Cardinals 7 In Tempe, Arizona, Jerry Rice caught his first pass with Oakland, and Bobby Hoying threw the only touchdown pass the Raiders needed to beat the Arizona Cardinals.