Atlanta (7-3) at Minnesota (3-8)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 43° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Dec 1, 2002
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

MINNEAPOLIS (TICKER) —The Atlanta Falcons’ last trip to the Metrodome ended with a trip to the Super Bowl.

On Sunday, the surging Falcons visit the site of one of their most memorable games in franchise history when they battle the Minnesota Vikings.

The red-hot Falcons are 6-0-1 in their last seven games, moving into second place in the NFC South, 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay. They play at Tampa Bay next Sunday.

Ironically, the last time the Falcons were this good was in the 1998 season, when they advanced to Super Bowl XXXIII. But before they got a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy, they visited the Metrodome for the NFC championship game on January 17, 1999.

Atlanta advanced to its only Super Bowl by overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 30-27 overtime victory over the Vikings, who had one of the most prolific offenses in history at the time.

Since that memorable game, the Falcons had posted just a 16-32 record in the last three campaigns until this season.

Electrifying quarterback Michael Vick passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns as the Falcons rolled to a 41-0 rout at Carolina last Sunday. The defense also was huge, registering eight sacks while holding the Panthers to 122 yards.

In his first full season as the starter, Vick has completed 150-of-252 passes (59.5 percent) for 1,821 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also has rushed for 475 yards and four scores.

Vick is likely to provide major headaches for the Vikings, who rank 29th in the NFL in total defense.

Minnesota has to be happy to be back home after suffering a 24-17 loss at New England last Sunday. It was the Vikings’ 16th straight road loss, including playoffs.

The Vikings, who are one loss from their second straight losing season, could be without running back Michael Bennett. He suffered a sprained ankle against the Patriots and is questionable.

Minnesota leads the series, 13-6. The Vikings won the last regular season meeting, 17-14, in 1999.

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