Vikings 38, Saints 31
Daunte Culpepper lost his top receiver, but did not miss a step in setting an NFL record.
Culpepper threw five touchdown passes to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 38-31 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. He did it without having Randy Moss for the second half.
It was the third time this season Culpepper has thrown five touchdown passes in a game, an NFL record.
Culpepper, despite pressure from the Saints' defense, completed 26 of 37 passes for 425 yards. He threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.
The Vikings had 605 yards of offense.
Rookie running back Mewelde Moore had another big game for Minnesota, rushing for 109 yards and catching seven passes for 78 yards.
Moss, who leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns, injured his hamstring in the second quarter. He had two receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. It was the 10th consecutive game in which Moss had a touchdown reception.
"After Moss went down somebody else just had to step up and make a few plays," Culpepper said. "But it wasn't just somebody. Everybody on offense had to step up their game a little big and that made us a lot better."
Nate Burleson had six receptions for 134 yards for Minnesota (4-1).
Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks completed 22 of 38 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
A pass interference call against cornerback Ashley Ambrose set up the Vikings' first touchdown, giving them a first down on the 1-yard line. On the next play Culpepper hit Jermaine Wiggins for the touchdown.
Minnesota, the only NFL team without an interception before the game, prevented a New Orleans touchdown with its first pickoff. Antoine Winfield stepped in front of Ernie Conwell, grabbed the ball and returned it 56 yards. Three plays later, Culpepper hit Moss in the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown, making it 14-0 less than a minute into the second quarter. But Culpepper fumbled a snap, which rolled downfield until Saints safety Jay Bellamy finally got the ball. He tossed a lateral to Ambrose, who returned the ball 68 yards to set up New Orleans' first score, a two-yard run by Deuce McAllister that made it 14-7.
Marcus Robinson caught a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 21-7 lead. But the Saints put together their best drive of the half, going 73 yards in four plays, with Brooks connecting with Joe Horn for a seven-yard touchdown.