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Daunte, Vikes D handle Miami

Daunte Culpepper proved he can throw, too.

Culpepper, who ran for three touchdowns last week in his first career start, was 23-for-37 for 355 yards and his first career touchdown pass in Minnesota's 13-7 victory over Miami on Sunday.

He threw a 15-yard score to Randy Moss with 1:56 left to offset three interceptions.

"No quarterback is perfect," Vikings coach Dennis Green said. "I don't know what quarterback you know that's going to make a perfect decision every time."

Cris Carter caught nine passes for a career-high 168 yards, and Moss had six catches for 87 yards. Culpepper also ran for 37 yards on eight carries.

"I really didn't have to run because Chris and Randy were getting open more," Culpepper said, comparing the game with last week's 30-27 victory over Chicago.

"I knew there were going to be opportunities that Chicago did not present. So I knew I just had to be patient. They were the No. 1-ranked defensive team last week, and when opportunities came, we had to take advantage of it."

After Culpepper teamed with Moss to give the Vikings a 13-0 lead, Miami cut it to six on Jay Fiedler's 2-yard pass to Thurman Thomas with 1:02 left. On the previous play, Fielder connected with Tony Martin on a 44-yard pass.

Orlando Thomas recovered Miami's onside kick.

Miami was held to 209 net yards, including 49 yards rushing, and was 3-for-13 on third-down conversions.

Lamar Smith, who rushed for 145 yards last week in Miami's 23-0 home victory over Seattle, gained 27 yards on 11 carries against the Vikings.

"Our defense dictated the game," Thomas said. "We put a lot of pressure on them up front. They came in with a power running game, and the things we did up front forced them into the types of situations they were in."

Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said his offense couldn't take advantage of the opportunities the Vikings offered.

"If we don't have the ability to run the ball, which we didn't today, we've got to make plays in the passing game," Wannstedt said. "As the game unfolded, they were bringing eight or nine guys up and blitzing us, giving us one-on-one coverage."

Thomas said the Minnesota defense felt some vindication.

"We heard this week about how terrible we were," he said. "We just wanted to come in and create some turnovers and not allow them to win on third down. We were able to do that."

Fiedler, also making his second career start, completed 12 of 31 passes for 175 yards with one interception. He was sacked three times for 15 yards.

Miami's defense didn't look nearly as strong as the unit that shut out Seattle.

"We got out of our game plan late in the game and started blitzing to try to make something happen," Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas said.

Mistakes kept both teams out of the end zone until the fourth quarter and forced the Vikings to settle for Gary Anderson's 28-yard field goal in the first quarter and 49-yarder in the fourth.

Keith Thibodeaux intercepted Fiedler on the third play of the third quarter, but Minnesota's drive, which was kept alive by a holding penalty on Sam Madison on third and 22, ended with Brian Walker's interception. Culpepper's pass bounced off tight end Andrew Jordan into Walker's hands, but Miami was forced to punt after gaining 6 yards.

Penalties by the offensive line also cost the Vikings two good opportunities in the second quarter. Brad Badger was called for holding in the second quarter, negating a 20-yard run by Robert Smith, and Korey Stringer was flagged for holding on a long run by Culpepper during Minnesota's final drive.

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