The skinny [6:02 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Turning point: Vikings rookie punt returner Troy Walters' 28-yard return to the Bills' 34-yard line with 3:54 to go. Three plays later, quarterback Daunte Culpepper hit Randy Moss in the back of the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown. It gave the Vikings a 28-27 lead with 3:42 remaining in the game.'
A short memory helps Culpepper fill tall rally order [6:00 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Daunte Culpepper used to let bad things gnaw at him. If he'd throw an interception or fumble the ball, or just mess up on a play, it'd stick to his psyche like a barnacle. But that was long ago. Nothing bothers him now. "In high school, I used to get down on myself and get mad," Culpepper said. "Then it would pile up. One problem would turn into another problem." So, way back in high school in Ocala, Fla., he realized it was a whole lot easier if he would just put the bad stuff behind him. Quickly. Very quickly. That's what he did Sunday.'
There's work do to on defense, Vikings agree [5:58 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Using a mixture of short passes by quarterback Doug Flutie and the running of Shawn Bryson and Sammy Morris, the Bills converted 10 of 17 third-down situations, a season high allowed by the Vikings.'
Extra Points [5:57 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Orlando Thomas stomped out any chance of a Doug Flutie-led comeback when he recovered a Peerless Price fumble in Buffalo territory to set up Gary Anderson's record-setting field goal. Trailing 28-27 with less than three minutes to play and facing third-and-11 from his own 19, Flutie hit Price for 17 yards and a first down. But Vikings cornerback Robert Tate jarred the ball loose, and Thomas pounced on it at the 34. Afterward, Price, who finished with three receptions for 42 yards, wasn't in chatty mood. "He just made a good play, and I fumbled the ball trying to make a play myself, trying to spin out of a tackle," said Price. "I don't want to talk no more."'
Record-setter Gary Anderson credits his late father [5:54 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: '"Dad taught me everything I know about kicking and everything I know about life," said Gary Anderson, his voice cracking and his eyes welling with tears. "He would tell me that I could continue kicking until I was 40. . . . But I don't think even Dad thought I'd break George Blanda's record. . . . He'd be surprised."'
Vikings now lone unbeaten NFL team [5:52 AM]
Fargo Forum reports: '"We love the fact that we are 7-0, we are very excited about it," head coach Dennis Green said. "But we do understand that next week we have another very good game. ... But I think that our guys are up for the task and have tremendous character."'
Purple reign [5:50 AM]
Fargo Forum reports: 'Coming into Sunday's game, Buffalo had made a name for itself thanks to a stingy defense. Undaunted, the Vikings rolled up 348 total yards and 31 points.'
Vikings' Anderson breaks NFL scoring mark [5:48 AM]
Fargo Forum reports: 'Anderson broke the record in front of his mother and two sons, who came to the Metrodome in hopes of seeing him make history. The kick also came against the Bills, who drafted Anderson in 1982, only to cut him during training camp.'
Vikings know they can be even better [5:47 AM]
Fargo Forum reports: 'For three-plus quarters, the Bills played the part of the better team. The Vikings appeared unable to solve Buffalo's defense and incapable of corralling Bills QB Doug Flutie and the Bills offense. With 14 minutes left in the game, Buffalo appeared in control with a 24-13 advantage. In other words, the Vikings had the Bills right where they wanted 'em.'
Record-breaker: Anderson surpasses Blanda's mark [5:40 AM]
AP reports: '"I wish every kid in America could experience what I've felt the last few years," said Anderson, a native of South Africa. "I don't think any of the others rank with this one, just the way that it happened. It's the culmination of a lot of guys who have helped me score 2,004 points. I'm the beneficiary of a lot of guys."'
Vikings 31, Bills 27 [5:38 AM]
AP reports: '"It came down to one play," said Bills coach Wade Phillips, whose Bills (3-4) have lost four of their last five games. "One play, and it's the difference in the game. We had two guys covering Moss. Obviously, we didn't have him covered."'
K Anderson becomes NFL's all-time leading scorer [5:36 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Gary Anderson, the only kicker to have a perfect season, is the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,004 points. Needing 10 points to pass George Blanda on the all-time list, Anderson kicked three field goals and two extra points today to help the Minnesota Vikings post a 31-27 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The 41-year-old Anderson set the record when he kicked a 21-yard field goal with 64 seconds left. The 11 points today gave him two more than the previous mark held by Blanda, who played until he was 48.'
Vikings 31, Bills 27 [4:26 PM]
Sportsticker reports: .
Can Flute right Bills vs. unbeaten Vikings? [9:36 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"Doug has different strengths (than Johnson)," Phillips said. "They're the same plays, they're just run differently. He's ready to play, the team believes in him and that's why we have two good QBs. Doug will have to adjust some, but the key will be how (the Vikings) play us and how they try to stop his strengths (scrambling and throwing on the run)."'
Idiot moves make Green a genius [9:34 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Dennis Green is an idiot. Last winter he let Randall Cunningham leave Minnesota as a free agent. And all he did was quarterback the Vikings to a 15-1 record in 1998 and a berth in the National Football Conference Championship Game. Shortly thereafter he did the same thing with Jeff George, whose contribution was taking the Vikes to 10 victories and a playoff berth last season. THEN Green handed the QB job to a second-year pro who had never thrown an NFL pass. What a fool. It's a good thing the Vikings are 6-0, or Dennis Green might have been fired by now. Instead, of course, he's being hailed as a genius ... on merit.'
The tall and short of it: Flutie leads underdog Bills [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Doug Flutie finds himself in an oh-so-familiar role today. Underdog. Flutie, one day shy of his 38th birthday, takes over a struggling Buffalo Bills' offense in one of the toughest venues in the NFL against one of only two undefeated teams in the league. If ever there was a game in which the Bills could use some Flutie magic, this is it.'
Mr. Clutch [9:26 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Giancola was supposed to push Christie and possibly compete for kickoff duties. But Giancola got more mileage out of his autograph marker than he did from his leg during training camp and was released before the first preseason game. Wednesday marked the second time Christie has earned AFC honors this year. He kicked three field goals, including the 33-yard game-winner with 31 seconds remaining, in the Bills' 16-13 season-opening victory over the Titans. "I like the pressure," Christie said. "I like it when there's something on the line. Sometimes early on in the game - not that it doesn't mean anything, but it's not the same - maybe you're not as locked on as you should be."'
Cornering the market on pass defense is key for Bills and Vikings [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Vikings' offense has yet to be truly contained this year. The Bills will need 27 points to win. It doesn't look like they're quite up to it. . . . Vikings 26-20.'
Flutie's back, and the Flakes are flying [9:23 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We've seen sales of Flutie Flakes double since Sunday's game," said Stefanie Zakowicz, corporate spokeswoman for Tops Markets. "It's too early to say it indicates a strong trend, but sales are way up this week." And the sales spike isn't just a Bills-country phenomenon. Pittsburgh-based PLB Sports, the company that created the private-label cereal and sells it to retailers and on its Web site, has charted a 40 percent uptick in orders from around the United States for Flutie Flakes and other Flutie products.'
Bills, SPCA collaborate on 2001 calendar [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In a not-so-instant replay of last year's calendar, the Buffalo Bills and the SPCA recently unveiled a "Bills and Their Pets" calendar for 2001. Included on the roster were guard Ruben Brown and his dog, Inca; nose tackle Ted Washington and his dogs, Thunder and Lightning; tight end Sheldon Jackson with his dog, Jesus; head coach Wade Phillips and his dog, Coach; General Manager John Butler and his dog, Josie Belle; and running back Jonathan Linton with his dog, Ozzy. Others appearing with SPCA animals include wide receiver Eric Moulds, tight end Jay Riemersma, wide receiver Peerless Price, linebackers Sam Rogers and Sam Cowart, and team Vice President Linda Bogdan.'
The beat goes on for Green and his Minnesota Vikings [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Recently the Sporting News, in a feature article, called him "the best coach in the NFL." Green not only has an eye for talent, he isn't afraid to take a chance on players other teams are reluctant to touch. Most teams, including Miami, which was coached by Jimmy Johnson at the time, thought Randy Moss was too hot to handle when he came out of Marshall. Green plucked him with the 21st overall pick and came out with the most dangerous receiver in football. Culpepper was the other extreme. When he came out of Central Florida with immense physical talents, there was a reluctance by some teams who thought he was too shy, too nice a kid to lead an NFL team, at least not without two or three years experience. "Denny knew he would be all right because he was playing with the best pair of receivers in the league and Bobby Smith, who is a great running back," Tasker points out. Culpepper has been more than all right. currently he's fourth in the NFL in passing, the Vikings are averaging 381 yards in offense and, most important, there is that 6-0 record. Denny Green knows what he's doing.'
Griffth, Thomas form a safety net for each other [7:54 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Robert Griffith remembers sitting in the Vikings' locker room, watching rookie safety Orlando Thomas act like he owned Winter Park. It was 1995, and Griffith, then in his second season with the Vikings, wasn't quite sure what to make of the second-round draft pick from Southwestern Louisiana. "When O.T. first joined the team during his rookie year, I thought he was a loudmouth," Griffith said. "He came in with (cornerback) Corey Fuller, and there was a lot of trash talking by the two of them. "I was like, wait a minute, look at these rookies. I know I'm in my second year, but look at this loudmouth country dude (Thomas). I said, 'He'd better be good.'" Five years and 914 combined tackles later, Thomas and Griffith have overcome vastly different beginnings to become two of the closest friends on the team. More important for the Vikings, the two safeties held together the defense when it struggled in past years. This season, they are peaking together, leading a resurgence in the unit that has helped the team to an undefeated start.'
Success, the small-market way [7:52 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'So how, in this age of free agency, have the Vikings and Bills remained among the top teams in their conferences? There are two primary reasons. First, neither team was built in a day with players purchased from other clubs. And, second, each team has maintained continuity inside the organization.'
Vikings-Bills matchup [7:50 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Doug Flutie will have the attention of his teammates. Many of them believe he should be the starter anyway. Expect to see a spirited Buffalo effort with Flutie playing a full game. While he'll have the support of his teammates, it's unknown how well Flutie will perform over the duration of an entire game. He looked good in overtime against San Diego. But he'll have shake some rust as a runner and a passer today. Watch for him to try to get the Vikings' defense nervous by running early. Flutie, 38 on Monday, can be a dangerous weapon, but he must prove can still be an effective starter.'
Flutie may give Bills lift [7:14 AM]
D and C reports: '"It's a lot more fun being on the field throwing the ball than standing on the sideline cheerleading," said Flutie, who turns 38 tomorrow. "I enjoy Sundays. I enjoy competing. But the bottom line is that we have to win a game. It's important we get to 4-3 rather than fall to 3-4."'
'Flutieball' gives Bills hope [7:13 AM]
D and C reports: '"We've had a similar offense the last two years and six games. That won't change, it's how they play us," Phillips said. "Doug has different strengths than Rob. How they try to play us and stop his strengths (is the key). It's the same plays but they're run differently at times because of the quarterback." And sometimes, things just happen.'
Q&A: Steve Christie [7:11 AM]
D and C reports: 'If you were the NFL commissioner, what would be the primary thing you would try to change about the game? "I would say the fields. There's a lot of complaining about Astro-turf, but I think there should be a lot more attention paid to the grass fields because a lot of them are in poor shape. I would think that your venue for such a game, the surface, for the benefit of the players, should be much better. The Jets' field was terrible. Last year, Baltimore and Washington were terrible. If you can't do grass, then don't do it. Jay Riemersma went down in New York, and that's a sandbox. And that's in New York where the commissioner is. That's not acceptable. Our field is pretty good, it's layered, it's very good."'
Scouting report [7:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'This is the 12th time since the 1970 merger that Buffalo has played an undefeated team through at least four games. The Bills are 8-3 in such games, including wins in five in a row. All three losses have been to unbeaten Miami teams.'
6-0 Vikes fear Flutie [7:07 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Many in Buffalo, coach Phillips included, seem to be toning down the return of Flutie. It's part of the lingering hangover of Phillips' controversial decision to hand the job to Johnson prior to the Bills playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans this past January. Flutie fumed and sulked at the time and later said the Bills would have defeated the Titans had he started. He has been relegated to Johnson's backup since. When meeting with Buffalo media this week, Flutie, who is 17-8 as a starter with the Bills, bit his lip and stuck to the company line. But in a conference call with Minnesota reporters, he said the demotion still eats at him.'
New gunslinger in town [7:05 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'The soon-to-be-outdated NFL textbook suggests that a quarterback should only carry the ball on draws, sneaks and broken plays. It also says 6-foot-5, 255-pound players are supposed to fill positions such as linebacker and perhaps fullback. Oldtime students of the game, meet Daunte Culpepper.'
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