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Moss' wobbly pass good for laughs

Trick play wasn't pretty, just effective

By Troy Young

tyoung@postbulletin.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Had they been carrying them, several duck hunters who were among the 64,105 who packed the Metrodome Sunday would have reached for their guns when Vikings receiver Randy Moss hurled a pass to Marcus Robinson.

In the third quarter, Daunte Culpepper handed off the ball to Moss on a reverse. Moss rolled to his right then heaved the ball downfield at Robinson, who was open by 5 yards. The flailing ball went end over end and was underthrown, which forced Robinson to come back into coverage and make the catch.

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Even though they missed the chance at a touchdown, the Vikings still gained 37 yards on the trick play.

The big play had all the Vikings smiling. Some were happy with the gain, others laughing at the feeble throwing attempt by Moss, who normally is one of the team's best passers.

"I was like, 'What's happening, man,'" Robinson said. "I told Randy, 'C'mon now, you have to get me six.'"

Robinson was referring to the six points the Vikings would have scored if Moss could have thrown the ball cleanly.

"I just rushed myself and got my hands on the back of the ball," Moss said. "But we completed it, and we got the first down. As the coordinator (Scott Linehan) said, it was an explosive play that got us going."

After seeing Moss' latest pass attempt, Culpepper isn't concerned with job security.

"Every time we call that play in practice, I always ask, 'Who's going to throw it?'" Culpepper said, chiding Moss' throwing ability. "Really, he wasn't able to put a spiral on that one, but it got there."

INJURIES: Early in the fourth quarter, Vikings running back Moe Williams sprained his right ankle and tight end Jim Kleinsasser suffered a sprained right knee. Neither returned to the game.

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FOR THE RECORD: Culpepper's five touchdown passes set a record for a Vikings quarterback in the season opener. The previous record of four was held by Fran Tarkenton, Tommy Kramer and Brad Johnson. Culpepper threw two to Moss and one each to Smith, Robinson and Kelly Campbell.

Joe Kapp holds the Vikings' record for most touchdown passes in a game with seven, set on Sept. 28, 1969, against the Baltimore Colts. Seventeen years later to the day, Tommy Kramer threw six on Sept. 28, 1986, against Green Bay.

STREAKING: Sunday's game was Moss' 88th consecutive start, which ties him for second among receivers in Vikings' history. Cris Carter holds the record with 144 straight starts.

ETC.: Kevin Williams registered the Vikings' lone sack Sunday. …; Rookie linebacker Dontarrious Thomas had an impressive debut; he had six tackles. No. 1 pick Kenechi Udeze had a pair of tackles. …; Chris Hovan did not register a tackle; he did recover one fumble.

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