St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Weinke wins pro debut

The Panthers offense, led by the former Seminole QB, shows unexpected poise in beating the Vikings 24-13.

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 10, 2001

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Vikings were supposed to have the polished offense, not the Panthers and rookie Chris Weinke.

The Panthers entered the season without much promise at quarterback, but the former Florida State star and Heisman Trophy winner threw a go-ahead touchdown to Muhsin Muhammad midway through the third quarter and ran for a score in the fourth, leading the Panthers to a 24-13 win over the mistake-prone Vikings.

"(Weinke) was calm and mature," said tight end Wesley Walls, who caught three passes for 74 yards after missing eight games last season with a knee injury. "He never seemed overwhelmed that we had a chance to beat the Vikings."

Carolina's Steve Smith returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and the Panthers' chances were enhanced by Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper's struggles. Playing their first regular-season game since the heatstroke death of lineman Korey Stringer in training camp, the Vikings committed four turnovers -- three of them interceptions of Culpepper.

"It starts with me," he said. "I should've just slowed things down. I have to make better decisions."

Culpepper threw a touchdown to Cris Carter that gave Minnesota its only lead at 13-10 late in the third quarter. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 236 yards and ran 12 times for 55 yards and a score.

Carter's touchdown, his 125th, tied him with Walter Payton for fifth on the career list. But Randy Moss was held to one catch for 28 yards, and Minnesota's offense never got on track.

"I told our team, if they make a big play in the first quarter or even the first half, we're in trouble," said Panthers cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock, a former Vikings player who intercepted a pass from Culpepper in the second quarter.

The Vikings, wearing a No. 77 patch to honor Stringer, will retire his jersey Nov. 19 against the Giants. After his death the Vikings went 4-0 in preseason games.

"I think the preseason pampered us," Moss said. "We got a little carried away."

Weinke, 29, wasn't rattled in his hometown. He was 13-for-22 for 223 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

"I felt so well-prepared for this game," Weinke said. "The coaching staff put us in a comfortable situation. I felt more nerves before a lot of college games than this one."

The Panthers got just three points out of two first-half trips inside the Vikings 10 but held a 10-0 halftime lead. Weinke found an open Muhammad for 43 yards on a flea-flicker to set up his first touchdown. On a later third and 19, Weinke hit Muhammad for a 16-yard touchdown to put the Panthers in front 17-13.

Deon Grant's interception gave Carolina the ball at the Minnesota 34 with 13:37 left. Weinke finished the drive with a 1-yard sneak to make it 24-13.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

Gary Shelton
  • Stop! Don't hit those panic buttons yet

  • Bucs 10,
    Cowboys 6
  • Photo Gallery
  • Big D, little O
  • Game balls
  • Johnson's field presence unbruised
  • Green also deserves spotlight
  • Special-teams flubs hinder, but don't hurt
  • Cowboys quotebook
  • Run defense sends Dallas scrambling
  • Gimme five
  • Sound bites
  • Bucs quotebook

  • Lightning
  • The waiting is over for Khabibulin
  • Goalie has no hard feelings toward Coyotes

  • Rays
  • It's a loss, but it's progress, Rays say
  • Sprain a relief to Abernathy

  • Sports Etc.
  • Bonds blasts past Maris
  • It's out with the old
  • All-Williams final is a TV hit
  • Striker says he wants out
  • Coker: Forget revenge, focus on present
  • Georgia Tech will measure rival readiness
  • Preliminaries complete, it's time for Vols
  • College football briefs
  • Bulls' Rubin enjoys another breakout day
  • College football: up next
  • Daily fishing report
  • Central Florida runner sprints for close finish
  • Weinke wins pro debut
  • New defense boosts Rams

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts