Vikings' offense bogs down against Giants

Updated: October 27, 2003, 10:09 AM ET
ESPN

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings again proved that Randy Moss isn't enough to win.

Moss caught seven balls for 125 yards and two touchdowns, but the rest of the offense -- the running game especially -- fell flat against an aggressive New York defense in the Vikings' 29-17 loss on Sunday.

Minnesota's star receiver caught only two balls for 4 yards in the second half -- one of them a 1-yard TD reception. Moss said he could've done more, but he was frustrated that more passes didn't come his way.

"If they're not coming my way and somebody else is making plays," he said, "then I can bite my lip and go on. But if nobody is making plays, find a way to get me the ball."

The Vikings had 137 yards rushing, but 57 of them came on long runs by Moe Williams (38) and Daunte Culpepper (19) -- and both of those runs came on drives that ended with punts.

Culpepper went 18-for-31 for a respectable 241 yards, but he was sacked four times for 19 yards and threw a costly interception that set up the Giants' final score.

Moss is at his best when the whole unit is clicking. In Minnesota's first six games, the running game was mostly consistent and Culpepper spread his passes around the field -- without any interceptions.

But his streak ended when he was picked off by Frank Walker in the fourth quarter.

"That guy has been fighting every play to do the right thing," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "In that situation, he tried to make a play and when we look at it, maybe he should have gone somewhere else."

The Vikings had only 11 yards rushing by halftime. Williams and Onterrio Smith kept getting nailed at the line of scrimmage, and Moss was dropped for a 12-yard loss in the first quarter on a reverse.

The lack of a running attack forced Culpepper to the air, but only two of his top four receivers -- Moss and rookie Nate Burleson -- were completely healthy. Kelly Campbell sat out with bruised calf, and D'Wayne Bates suited up for the first time since hurting his foot Sept. 14 against Chicago but barely played.

Burleson had a few nice catches, but Moss, who faced multiple defenders, really was the only threat that developed.

"They were doing a good job of having one guy underneath him and one guy on top of him," Culpepper said.

Without the running game working, the passing game never opened up.

"Daunte going up to Randy, that's an exciting play ... but you can't just keep doing that," center Matt Birk said. "You've got to have a staple like our running game to kind of carry this offense and open up everybody else."

Moss did have one early opportunity in the first quarter when Culpepper threw a deep pass to him on third down, but Will Allen ripped the ball out as they fell to the turf.

"I feel there is more that I could have done from an individual standpoint," Moss said. "If I could have come up with the catch at the first quarter, the outcome could have been different. ... We just have to take the loss and go into film tomorrow and get better."

Andres Ybarra can be reached at aybarra(at)ap.org.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index