MINNEAPOLIS -- With the playoffs starting in less than three weeks, Jacksonville is rolling. Unfortunately, it's a little late.
Stacey Mack rushed 27 times for two touchdowns and 111 yards Sunday, and the Jaguars beat the Minnesota Vikings 33-3 for their third straight victory.
"We're playing well right now," said Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin. "We've got the kind of execution and control we expected all season -- not the outlandish stuff."
Jimmy Smith caught eight passes for 122 yards for the Jaguars, who improved to 6-8 but were already eliminated from playoff contention.
The Vikings, also unfamiliarly out of the race, lost another quarterback to injury, went without a touchdown for the second time in the last three home games and dropped to 5-9.
"They controlled the line of scrimmage," said a weary-looking coach Dennis Green, whose team will miss the playoffs for the second time in his 10 seasons with the Vikings. "We weren't playing very strong."
Cris Carter, probably playing for Minnesota in the Metrodome for the final time, had seven receptions for 88 yards.
"I'll consider a lot of things," said Carter, who can become a free agent after this season and has hinted he'll sign with another team for 2002 instead of retire. "But I still think I know what I'm going to do."
Mike Hollis kicked four field goals for Jacksonville, and Mark Brunell was 17-for-24 passing for 217 yards.
"It just clicked today," Brunell said. "This is ideal -- what we hope for each week."
Spergon Wynn completed 24 of 39 passes for 217 yards and an interception for Minnesota in place of Todd Bouman, who reaggravated a thumb injury on the first possession and didn't return. Daunte Culpepper already is out with a knee injury.
"I didn't feel my performance was good enough if we didn't get the win," said Wynn, who started once for Cleveland last year as a rookie. "They've got a great pass rush."
Tony Brackens had two sacks for Jacksonville, which went up 23-3 late in the third quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Brunell to Keenan McCardell.
In their last home game of 2001, the Vikings showed several recorded video messages from players and front-office personnel to the fans -- thanking them for making the Metrodome the "noisiest stadium in the NFL."
Green and owner Red McCombs drew mild boos. Robert Smith, the Vikings' career leading rusher who is now retired, got the loudest cheer from the sellout crowd of 64,150 -- many of whom left early in the fourth quarter.
Those who remained gave Carter a hearty ovation just before the two-minute warning after the star wide receiver expressed his appreciation to the Minnesota fans. He shook the hands of fans sitting behind the end zone after the game.
"It's nice as a 36-year-old to know that people say you can still play the game," Carter said. "It's been more fun than I ever expected."
The Jaguars moved the ball with ease in the first half, outgaining the Vikings 233-116 and building a 16-3 lead. The Jaguars didn't punt and had favorable field position because of Lee Johnson's struggles.
Johnson, subbing for injured Mitch Berger for the rest of the season, averaged 29 yards on three first-half punts for Minnesota.
Mack's 3-yard run made it 10-0 Jacksonville. The Jaguars, though, stalled inside the Vikings 5 on their last two drives of the half and settled for field goals of 23 and 21 yards.
Wynn drove the Vikings to the Jacksonville 31 on his first series, but a completion to Jake Reed inside the 10 was wiped out by a holding penalty on Corbin Lacina. Brackens blew by Brad Badger on the next play and forced a Minnesota punt with a 9-yard sack at midfield.
Notes: Merchandise bearing Carter's No. 80 was selling for half price at memorabilia stands around the Metrodome concourse. ... Green said Bouman would be OK and probably will be able to do more in practice next week than he did this week.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.