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Memorable Mondays: Culpepper Sets Vikings 'MNF' Completions Record

Posted Aug 21, 2017

We have three weeks before the Vikings host the Saints on Monday Night Football for the 2017 regular-season opener, so Vikings.com’s writers are taking a look each week at a “memorable Monday” in franchise history.

Minnesota is 27-32 all-time on MNF, and the Vikings are scheduled to play twice this season on the series that launched in 1970.

We’ll continue the series with one of Daunte Culpepper’s big performances during the 2004 season. Culpepper set a franchise MNF record for completions (37) and passed for 343 yards, which ranks second all-time in Vikings history on MNF. Despite the quarterback’s statistics, however, the Vikings struggled in the red zone and committed a costly turnover. Minnesota was unable to contain Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who ultimately helped Philadelphia walk away with a Week 2 victory on Sept. 20, 2004.

Click here for the first recap in this series.

Click here for the second recap in this series.

Click here for the third recap in this series.

Click here for fourth recap in this series.

Click here for fifth recap in this series.

Click here for last week’s recap.

Eagles 27, Vikings 16

Weather: Clear | Temp: 61 degrees Fahrenheit | Wind: NW 1 mph

Attendance: 67,676 | Time of game: 9:09 p.m. (ET)

PHI  7 3 7 10 | 27

MIN  3 3 3 7 | 16

The early season Monday Night Football contest turned out to be a battle of offenses that featured several long drives and limited flashy plays.

Minnesota started with possession and drove down the field in seven plays that included a 22-yard catch by Randy Moss. Philadelphia held the Vikings at the Eagles 24-yard line, forcing a Morten Andersen field goal that gave Minnesota an early lead.

The Eagles responded with a 12-play drive that resulted in McNabb finding tight end L.J. Smith for a touchdown to take the lead.

The Vikings second field goal came after a drive that included five completed passes of 10-plus yards by Culpepper. But Minnesota had three unsuccessful runs from the Philadelphia 2 before Andersen knocked in a 19-yarder to shrink the point deficit to 1.

Six minutes later, David Akers kicked a 37-yard field goal to extend the advantage.

Perhaps the Vikings biggest misstep of the night was when they failed to capitalize on a momentum swing in their direction.

After a three-and-out by Minnesota and subsequent punt, Vikings cornerback Brian Williams caused a Brian Westbrook fumble on the Eagles first play. And if two Brians isn’t confusing enough, Vikings safety Brian Russell recovered the ball at Minnesota’s 43-yard line.

The Vikings fumbled on the following play, but Adam Haayer recovered it at the 46 to keep the drive alive. Culpepper then proceeded with six consecutive, flawless passes for 54 yards. On first-and-goal at the 2, however, Culpepper attempted a quarterback sneak into the end zone and fumbled at the 1-yard-line. This time the ball was scooped up by the fourth “Brian” of the game, Eagles receiver Brian Dawkins.

Philadelphia built on its 10-6 halftime lead when McNabb scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown on a scramble to cap a 43-yard drive early in the third quarter.

Andersen kicked a 39-yard field goal for the Vikings third score of the game, but the Eagles once again responded with a 45-yard touchdown – the longest of the game – to Terrell Owens at the 7:48 mark of the fourth.

Minnesota got its first touchdown with just over three minutes remaining in the game.

Culpepper once again led a successful drive down the field, this time finding Moss in the corner of the end zone. Despite their best efforts to force a punt by Philadelphia, Akers had the leg for a 47-yard field goal with 1:11 remaining.

Culpepper finished 37-of-47 passing for 343 yards with one touchdown and a late interception for a rating of 95.3. He completed eight passes each to Moss, Jermaine Wiggins and Onterrio Smith.

The Vikings outplayed the Eagles in most statistical categories, including first downs (25 to 19), total net yards (410 to 317), net yards passing (332 to 226) and time of possession (37:53 to 22:07). Culpepper’s passing marked a career night, but the Vikings red zone turnover and 20 percent success rate inside the 20 ultimately cost them the game.

Vikings connection: Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse, who recorded a tackle, sack, quarterback hurry and defended pass, is the uncle of current Vikings safety Jayron Kearse.