Culpepper’s fifth touchdown pass, a 50-yarder to Robinson on the Vikings’ second possession in overtime, allowed Minnesota to win after Carr and Johnson had led the Texans on an electrifying second-half rally.
“We had to fight 60 minutes plus,” said Culpepper, who passed for 396 yards. “It’s a great win.”
It was nearly a disaster for Minnesota (3-1).
The Vikings led 21-0 in the third quarter and 28-14 in the fourth before the Texans (2-3) recovered and sent it into overtime. Carr’s second TD pass to Johnson, a 22-yarder with 1:53 to play, tied it at 28.
But while the Texans proved they’re never out of any game, the Vikings showed them just how to close one out.
Starting at their own 19, the Vikings moved to midfield in three plays. On first down, Culpepper saw Robinson get a step on a defender and hit him perfectly in stride.
He dropped it.
Two plays later, Culpepper went right back to him on third-and-12. Robinson split the deep coverage and Culpepper delivered another perfect strike.
Robinson hung on this time, racing all by himself the last 15 yards to the end zone.
“I was still upset about the drop,” Robinson said. “When it was still in the air, all I was thinking was `catch this ball’ and then whatever happens, happens.”
Culpepper said it was an easy choice. The Texans had Randy Moss in double coverage, leaving Robinson wide open. Moss had already caught two touchdowns, including a 50-yarder in the fourth quarter.
“Nobody’s perfect,” Culpepper said. “Everybody’s going to make mistakes. What’s important is what you do after you make mistakes.”
The Texans had come into the game with franchise-first consecutive wins, and nearly turned it into a real winning streak behind Carr’s 372 yards passing and three TDs.
Johnson’s first score came when he went high and hung on to the ball when he was upended and landed on his head, making it 21-7. The last came when he leaped over two defenders at the goal line.
“He’s a bad dude,” said Vikings coach Mike Tice. “I’d like to have him in my arsenal. I’d never run the ball.”
But the Texans couldn’t keep the momentum in overtime, punting on their only possession before Culpepper’s winning throw.
“We couldn’t finish it off,” Carr said. “That’s something we’re going to have to focus on. We’ve got to get the killer mentality and take it away, kind of like the Vikings did.”
The rally only made the loss feel worse.
“Anytime you lose a game like this, it hits you in the heart,” said Texans coach Dom Capers.
The Vikings got a huge game from fourth-team tailback Mewelde Moore, who finished with 182 yards total.
Moore was thrust into the starting lineup when injuries to Michael Bennett and Moe Williams and a league suspension for Onterrio Smith depleted the Vikings’ roster. His tough running between the tackles and ability to scamper into the flat on short passes opened up things for Culpepper.
With Moore moving the chains to set up Culpepper’s throws downfield, the Vikings looked primed for a rout.
Culpepper and Moss connected for the first score and the Vikings used Moss as a decoy for the second, faking a reverse on the Texans 5 before Culpepper rolled out and hit Nate Burleson in the corner of the end zone, sending the quarterback into a hip-thrusting celebration dance.
Robinson, who finished with 150 yards on nine catches, caught Culpepper’s third TD pass and the quarterback danced again after hitting Moss on the 50-yarder in the fourth.
“We didn’t break,” Culpepper said. “When we got our chance, we took it.”
: Johnson recorded consecutive 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his career. It’s also a franchise first … Moss has seven of Culpepper’s 13 touchdown passes this season. He finished with five catches for 90 yards … Carr was roughed up in the fourth quarter when Vikings defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Steve Martin landed on him. Backup Tony Banks replaced him for one play, but didn’t throw a pass … Moore led the Vikings in rushing (92 yards) and receptions (12 for 90 yards).