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Minnesota at Oakland

Moss, Culpepper click in making Raiders look bad

SportsLine.com wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Randy Moss shoved and sidestepped Charles Woodson like a power forward under the hoop, taking position in the end zone and then grabbing the pass in one fluid motion.

Moss made a difficult touchdown catch look easy, and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings didn't have much more trouble with the Oakland Raiders in a 21-6 exhibition victory Friday night.

Randy Moss leaps over Charles Woodson to grab one of his two touchdown receptions. 
Randy Moss leaps over Charles Woodson to grab one of his two touchdown receptions.(AP) 
Moss caught two scoring passes from Daunte Culpepper, and rookie Onterrio Smith rushed for a score as the Vikings thoroughly outplayed the AFC champions for their first win of the preseason.

Culpepper and Moss led Minnesota to 228 total yards in the first half, capping the workout with two short TD connections that pointed out big inadequacies in Oakland's defense.

"We got out early on them, but we know that's not their best," Culpepper said. "That's not our best, either. We've got to build on it."

Moss, the erstwhile basketball player, spent the first half locked in one-on-one coverage with Woodson, the Raiders' star cornerback. Moss won the matchup several times -- most noticeably on a 1-yard TD pass 24 seconds before halftime, when Moss shoved past Woodson and made a difficult catch above his head.

Moss also caught a 5-yard TD pass on Minnesota's second drive of the game. He finished with five catches for 36 yards, and Culpepper went 13-of-22 for 141 yards.

Moss had just four receptions in the Vikings' first two preseason games, but he was on the same wavelength as Culpepper for most of the first half -- thanks in large part to an offensive line that dominated Oakland's pass-rushers.

And don't forget the Minnesota defense, which held the Raiders' high-powered offense to 124 yards in the first half and two field goals overall.

"This was a result of the work they put in during the early part of the week," Minnesota coach Mike Tice said. "They expected to play well, and we played better. It wasn't the best game Oakland can play, but all we can worry about is that we won."

The teams meet again at the Coliseum on Nov. 16.

While the Vikings (1-2) cruised, Oakland (1-2) got a tongue-lashing from coach Bill Callahan. The Raiders had similar misadventures while losing all four preseason games last summer, causing all sorts of panic in the Raider Nation before their run to the Super Bowl.

"You don't want to know what I said to them," Callahan said of his halftime speech. "We came out soft. It's not our standards. It's not the way we go out and compete. I'm not pleased at all in any phase of our football. If we expect to take the field in the regular season like this, we've got a rude awakening coming."

League MVP Rich Gannon went 9-for-18 for 107 yards, including a 41-yard pass to Jerry Rice, but the Raiders couldn't get in the end zone.

Rookie Teyo Johnson nearly caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter, but a replay review upheld the officials' ruling that Johnson had bobbled the ball.

"It's not all that much different," Gannon said in comparing the Raiders' up-and-down preseason to last season's disappointment. "There were some gray areas last year from an offensive standpoint at this time. We got it worked out last year, and I'm sure we'll work it out this year."

Smith rushed for a 5-yard TD on a broken play early in the second half, weaving his way into the end zone after his blocking fullback ran another direction.

Minnesota got outstanding games from four running backs hoping to replace injured Michael Bennett in the starting lineup; Smith, Moe Williams, Doug Chapman and John Avery combined for 164 yards rushing behind the Vikings' powerful line.

"I can't say enough about our O-line," Culpepper said. "The way they played tonight, we could do whatever we wanted to do. If they play well, we can move the ball on anybody."

Callahan expected to play Gannon and the first-string offense into the second half, but he went with the backups in the second quarter. It proved costly when Marques Tuiasosopo was intercepted by Chris Claiborne 2:52 before halftime, setting up Minnesota's second scoring drive.

Hayden Epstein didn't help himself in the Vikings' kicking derby when he missed two first-half field goals: a 28-yarder on Minnesota's opening possession and a 36-yarder shortly before halftime.

Sebastian Janikowski made a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter, and rookie Joe O'Donnell also kicked a 33-yard field goal for the Raiders.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Scoring Summary
TDRandy Moss, 5 Yd pass from Daunte Culpepper (Aaron Elling kick is good), 4:41. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards in 4:35.
FGSebastian Janikowski 20 Yd, 14:11. Drive: 13 plays, 48 yards in 5:30.
TDRandy Moss, 1 Yd pass from Daunte Culpepper (Aaron Elling kick is good), 0:24. Drive: 7 plays, 41 yards in 2:28.
TDOnterrio Smith, 5 Yd run (Aaron Elling kick is good), 10:03. Drive: 7 plays, 49 yards in 3:38.
FGJoe O'Donnell 33 Yd, 0:15. Drive: 7 plays, 58 yards in 3:12.

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D. Culpepper13/2214120
G. Frerotte1/4500
J. Avery1352011
M. Williams639011
O. Smith638113
D. Chapman635019
D. Culpepper316012
R. Moss1909
J. Wofford6606
N. Burleson1-10-1
R. Moss536214
N. Burleson234023
J. Kleinsasser330011
H. Goodwin124024
M. Williams112012
D. Bates1505
K. Clark1505
R. Gannon9/1810700
R. Mirer7/129801
M. Tuiasosopo1/5901
R. Jenkins644044
M. Hill637012
T. Wheatley3605
Z. Crockett2403
J. Fargas2-101
M. Tuiasosopo1-10-1
T. Johnson255044
J. Rice245041
T. Brown436011
R. Jenkins329021
D. Jolley21508
A. Whitted21409
W. Quinnie113013
J. Stone1707
Complete Player Stats