MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper drops back Sunday against Miami, the element of surprise will be lost when he doesn't pass.
That's because everyone in the Metrodome will know that Culpepper ran for three touchdowns last week in his first career start for the Vikings.
But Culpepper doesn't necessarily see it as a bad thing that the Dolphins might look for him to run, given that if they leave an extra man up front to keep him honest, he has two good targets in receivers Randy Moss and Cris Carter.
"Whether they blitz or bring the house, they're probably going to leave a guy in the spot on me and make sure I don't run free in the lanes, and that's exactly what we want because then they can't double the receivers outside," Culpepper said.
The Dolphins' defensive line is much stronger and quicker than the Chicago defenders Culpepper brutalized in last week's 30-27 win. But Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said that wouldn't necessarily make it easy to stop Minnesota's 6-foot-4, 255-pound quarterback.
"When you have a guy with his size and strength, you're not going to arm tackle him, you've got to wrap him up," Wannstedt said. "The one thing our defensive line has is good athletes up front and we can run up front, so it will be a good challenge for us."
Vikings coach Dennis Green said the offense hasn't been changed so Culpepper can duplicate his three-touchdown performance.
"Daunte will do what he needs to do to try to get success," Green said. "A lot of it is based on what the defense is going to give you, and Daunte is always willing to do whatever he can to try and score. If that means all passing and no running, that's fine."
Miami cornerback Sam Madison, who had two interceptions in the Dolphins' 23-0 win over Seattle and tied for the NFL lead last year with seven interceptions, will likely be isolated on Moss or Carter at times. That possibility has Moss, who caught four passes for 89 yards last week, positively jolly.
"I think it would make me more happier to see a little more one-on-one this week, so it can just keep me in the game," Moss said.
The double teams Moss and Carter faced last week also allowed Robert Smith to rush 14 times for 109 yards, including a 59-yarder in the fourth quarter that set up Culpepper's third scoring run.
Dolphins starter Jay Fiedler, Minnesota's No. 3 quarterback two years ago, was 15-of-24 for 134 yards and a touchdown. That means the Vikings' weak secondary could get a break, but the defense must be wary of the run because Lamar Smith was named the AFC offensive player of the week after rushing for 145 yards and a touchdown.
"They've established a good running attack, and of course, they can stretch the field and put it downfield too, so it's going to be a challenging game to play defensively," Vikings defensive end John Burrough said.
Fiedler, who won the starting job over Damon Huard in the preseason, said his role is simply to run new coordinator Chan Gailey's offense, and he's not expected to do anything spectacular.
"Hopefully, my job will be made easy if we keep running the ball the way we've done and we keep playing defense the way we did in the preseason and in the first game," Fiedler said.
The Vikings, who hope to be 3-0 heading into their bye in week four, believe a hard-fought game with Miami might be just what this team needs to gel in time for the NFC Central games to come.
"Guys get used to playing in tough situations, and the toughest environments are obviously starting off against the division and a team like Miami that's coming off a 23-0 win over Seattle," Smith said. "I think it's important for any NFL team, especially an NFL team that has the youth in some of the positions that we have. I think it helps build confidence. It also helps you build togetherness."
End Adv for Sept. 9-10
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