Vikings 29, Raiders 22

MINNEAPOLIS – Adrian Peterson watched from the sideline in a sweat suit, perhaps seeing a little bit of himself in Chester Taylor’s clutch performance.

Taylor had 202 total yards and three touchdowns, sending the Vikings past former teammate Daunte Culpepper and the Oakland Raiders 29-22.

Peterson was out with a minor knee injury, so Taylor did his best impression. He rushed 22 times for 164 yards, and Minnesota (4-6) pressured Culpepper into a costly turnover and four sacks.

The Vikings turned the ball over four times in the first half, and Sebastian Janikowski followed their fumbles with three of his five field goals. He couldn’t prevent Oakland (2-8) from losing its sixth straight game.

The Raiders were trailing 22-19 at the Minnesota 14 late in the third quarter, when the Metrodome crowd saw the kind of mistake Culpepper made frequently here despite three Pro Bowl appearances and all those touchdown passes to Randy Moss.

Brian Robison crunched Culpepper in the pocket, the ball popped out, and Chad Greenway recovered. The Vikings went the other way and took a 29-19 lead on Taylor’s third touchdown.

Culpepper completed 23 of 39 passes for 344 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His last-second heave into the end zone was batted down by Minnesota.

Culpepper came jogging out of the tunnel, across the field from his original team, drawing a brief round of boos before the game. To Minnesota fans he looked strange in silver and black, wearing a white No. 8 jersey instead of the purple No. 11 he donned here as a starter for six seasons.

The Raiders picked quarterback JaMarcus Russell first in the draft, but he’s been holding the clipboard while Culpepper and Josh McCown have shuffled in and out of the starting spot.

Culpepper hit a couple of long passes to Ronald Curry, who had 120 yards receiving, and fired a perfect strike to backup tight end John Madsen for a 10-yard touchdown early in the second quarter that cut Minnesota’s lead to 12-10.

He faced heavy pressure, though, and wasn’t given much of a chance to throw at all in the second half while Oakland insisted on running Justin Fargas between the tackles against the stingy Vikings interior.

Fargas had 60 yards on 22 carries.

Taylor, smaller and shiftier than Peterson, played just like the featured back he was until Peterson fell to the Vikings on the draft board last spring. He touched the ball eight times in the first quarter and picked up five first downs, then scored his second touchdown on a 38-yard scamper to make it 19-13 Minnesota midway through the second quarter.

Tarvaris Jackson had the most efficient half of his young, so-far-unimpressive career, completing 12 of 15 passes for 114 yards over the first 30 minutes. He threw an interception in the end zone and fumbled on a sack near midfield in the last minute of the half, however. Taylor and Bobby Wade lost fumbles, too.

After failing to score in last week’s embarrassing loss at Green Bay, the Vikings turned to the back page of the playbook on the game’s first snap and surprised the Raiders with a 79-yard reverse pass from rookie wide receiver Sidney Rice to wide-open tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.

Taylor went left after the handoff and tossed the ball to Rice, who raced right and heaved it down the field to the wide-open tight end. Then Taylor burst through the line on the next play for a 10-yard score.

Minnesota outgained Oakland 194 yards to 37 in the first quarter and picked up a safety when Culpepper was called for intentional grounding in the end zone with Ray Edwards and Robison taking him down.

Both teams lost their top cornerbacks to unspecified injuries, Nnamdi Asamouga for the Raiders and Antoine Winfield for the Vikings.

AP-ES-11-18-07 1629EST

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