Sports

Vikings spoil Culpepper's return to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- Of the 11 penalties the Raiders committed Sunday, the last was the most puzzling.

A false start when the quarterback is spiking the ball? Warren Sapp thought he had seen about everything on a football field until receiver Tim Dwight was flagged when all he had to do was stand still.

"Where the (heck) you going?" Sapp wondered aloud.

The Raiders lost 29-22 to the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome, in another performance that featured the regular themes of poor run defense and penalties.

The Raiders had the ball at the Vikings' 36-yard line with 12 seconds left and a last-ditch shot to tie the game. That's when Dwight drew a flag, costing the Raiders five yards and a 10-second runoff because they had no timeouts.

"Just undisciplined unit as a whole," Sapp said of how the defense gave up 228 rushing yards. "The whole ... team, from top to bottom. There's no doubt about it. ... We do it all the time, all game long. Until we fix that and get out of our damn way, we'll never win."

The Raiders (2-8) have lost six in a row.

Chester Taylor filled in for injured star tailback Adrian Peterson and became the latest running back the Raiders made look like a star. He ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns.

The Raiders' defense forced four turnovers (a fifth was forced by tackle Barry Sims after an interception), but the offense didn't capitalize, getting only nine points off four first-half miscues by the Vikings (4-6).

Instead of leading at halftime, the Raiders were tied 19-19.

"Kicked too many field goals in that first half," Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said. "And then if you don't run the ball very well like we didn't run it today, and you can't stop the run like we didn't today, makes it real tough to win, especially when you're on the road."

The Raiders ran 27 times for only 61 yards. They had success exploiting the Vikings' secondary, with Daunte Culpepper throwing for 344 yards and a touchdown in his return to Minnesota, where he played in three Pro Bowls in seven seasons.

Culpepper threw an interception when a pass deflected off Justin Fargas and was caught by Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.

Greenway tried to run with the ball and fumbled it back to the Raiders to keep their final drive going.

So impressed with Culpepper was Kiffin he declared him the starter for next week's game instead of waiting to watch the game film.

"I thought Daunte was a warrior today," Kiffin said. "... I thought Daunte made a bunch of plays. I thought he played plenty well enough for us to win today."

But the offense's penalties overshadowed Culpepper's day.

"We can't beat ourselves and we can't put ourselves in tough positions," Culpepper said. "We've got to put ourselves in positions to be successful. Play in and play out, that's what good offenses do."

The Raiders don't have a good offense. And the defense isn't much better with its habit of letting running backs run through gaping holes.

"It's the same (stuff) every week," Sapp said. "Penalties, this and that, undisciplined gaps on defense, allowing people to run for 200 yards -- it's not going to change until we get out of our own damn way.

"There's nothing else to be said. We're just an undisciplined (team) from top to bottom."

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