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Vick injured as Falcons run roughshod over Vikes

ATLANTA (AP) -- Michael Vick felt good enough to go back in the
game.

No need. In about a quarter and a half, he did enough to lead
the Atlanta Falcons past the hapless Minnesota Vikings.

Vick went down with a sprained right knee Sunday, turning it
over to backup Matt Schaub and the Falcons' defense to finish off a
30-10 rout of the Vikings.

"It feels fine. I just tweaked it a little bit," Vick said.
"We had a good cushion, so it made sense to keep me on the
sideline."

Warrick Dunn rushed for 126 yards, including his 50th career
touchdown on a 37-yard run, to lead a 285-yard performance on the
ground. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the
second-best rushing total in Falcons' history, surpassed only by
297 yards against the Los Angeles Rams in 1972.

Vick ran for 58 yards and threw a touchdown pass before getting
hurt. The Falcons' defense made things miserable for Daunte
Culpepper, who was sacked nine times, intercepted twice and lost a
fumble.

The Minnesota quarterback has gone down 16 times the last two
weeks and looked especially gun-shy on his fumble. Rod Coleman
brushed Culpepper's hip as he drew back to throw, the ball fell out
of his hand and Patrick Kerney recovered.

"I took some good shots," Culpepper said. "It's definitely
disappointing. There's a lot of talent on this football team."

It hasn't showed up so far. The Vikings (1-3) were beaten at
home by Tampa Bay and have been outscored 67-18 in two road losses.

Coleman, Brady Smith and Demorrio Williams had two sacks apiece
for the Falcons (3-1), who had their most sacks since a
franchise-record 10 against New Orleans in 1997.

"To get nine sacks and with our crowd behind us like they were,
that would fluster any offensive line in the league," said Keith
Brooking, who had nine tackles, a sack and an interception.

Coleman has four sacks the last two games, quite a showing for
an interior linemen who is frequently double-teamed. He credited
the secondary for giving the linemen plenty of time to get to
Culpepper.

"He just didn't have anybody to throw to because of the
coverage," Coleman said.

Vick guided the Falcons to a 14-0 lead on their first two
possessions.

He broke off runs of 23 and 24 yards before throwing a 5-yard
touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler. On the scoring play, Vick hid the
ball on his left hip for a couple of seconds, fooling the defense
and allowing his tight end to get open.

Then, Vick directed a tedious 14-play drive capped by T.J.
Duckett's 1-yard plunge.

On the first play of Atlanta's next possession, Vick rolled
right to throw and was hit hard by Minnesota's Erasmus James just
after delivering an incomplete pass. The 266-pound James fell on
top of the quarterback as they tumbled to the turf. Vick grabbed at
his shin and remained down for several minutes, the Georgia Dome
fans gasping when they realized who was injured.

Finally, the two-time Pro Bowler climbed to his feet and walked
slowly off the field to a standing ovation. The team said he had a
strained medial collateral ligament and wouldn't return, a decision
made easier with Atlanta in complete control over the Vikings
(1-3).

"It's hard to see anybody go down," Kerney said. "Your mind
rushes until you realize you have a great backup player in Matt
Schaub."

Schaub took over and led the Falcons to a 24-0 halftime lead.
Dunn scored his first touchdown of the season from 37 yards,
corkscrewing into the end zone on his back.

Then Schaub led a hurried drive to the first of three field
goals by Todd Peterson. The backup QB broke off runs of 21 and 23
yards.

"He was Vick-like on those jaunts," coach Jim Mora quipped.

Schaub didn't do much the rest of the way, completing only
5-of-14 for 39 yards. Vick expects to play next week against
defending Super Bowl champion New England.

"We are going to get it on," Vick said. "Two great coaching
staffs, two great quarterbacks, two great teams. That's the way it
should be."

The Atlanta offense, with and without Vick, had its way against
the injury depleted Vikings, who played without Darren Sharper,
Kenechi Udeze, Brian Williams and Lance Johnstone.

Even Schaub, who hardly has Vick's running skills, rushed for 56
yards on four carries. Between them, Vick and Schaub accounted for
114 yards on the ground.

"Not too bad for the quarterbacks, I guess," Schaub said.

The Vikings finally reached the end zone with 2½ minutes
remaining when Culpepper hooked up with Troy Williamson on a
16-yard touchdown.

Game notes
Atlanta won despite throwing for only 88 yards. ... RB
Mewelde Moore led the Vikings in rushing (67 yards) and receiving
(six catches, 63 yards). ... Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall had an
interception but was beaten by Williamson on the Vikings' lone
touchdown. ... Atlanta is averaging 209 yards rushing a game.