Giants 36, Vikings 21

The quick-strike, high octane offense was there as expected, only it belonged to the New York Giants and not the Minnesota Vikings.

Kent Graham threw touchdown passes of 53 and 37 yards against the first stringers as the Giants whipped the Vikings 36-21 in an exhibition game Friday night.

The Vikings, who scored an NFL record 556 points last season, were expected to torch New York's nicked-up secondary, but their starters amassed just 54 yards of offense in three fruitless drives.

Although Minnesota backup quarterback Jeff George threw touchdown passes of 20 and 30 yards, the big plays came not from Randall Cunningham and Randy Moss but from Graham and Sean Bennett.

Before leaving with a concussion, Bennett, a rookie running back thrust into the starting lineup by the Giants' rash of injuries, rushed 10 times for 35 yards and caught two passes for 65 yards, including a 53-yard TD.

He was hurt on his first carry of the second half and didn't return.

Graham, fighting to keep his starting job from free agent acquisition Kerry Collins, completed his first five passes for 145 yards.

He hit Bennett on a screen pass for the 53-yard TD and a 7-0 lead, then induced second-year cornerback Ramos McDonald, who replaced Corey Fuller, to bite on a fake, freeing Joe Jurevicius for a wide-open 37-yard TD pass that made it 14-0.

Jurevicius also left in the third quarter, with a strained hamstring.

Brad Daluiso kicked field goals of 48 and 24 yards following Minnesota turnovers sandwiched around George's 20-yard TD pass to Chris Walsh for a 20-7 lead over the Vikings, the popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

George, who took a $4.6 million pay cut to back up Cunningham, connected with Moe Williams on a 30-yard TD just before halftime, cutting the deficit to 20-14.

But the Vikings were sloppy in all phases, and it really hurt them when punter Andy Caflisch stepped out of his own end zone for a safety in the third quarter. Worse, James Souder was called for interference on the play, forcing Caflisch to free kick from his own 10.

Worse yet, Caflisch kicked that ball out of bounds, giving the Giants possession at the Vikings 40 and setting up Tiki Barber's 6-yard TD run that made it 29-14 and sent thousands in the Vikings' exhibition-record crowd of 63,434 streaming to the exits midway through the third quarter.

Collins connected with David Patten for 46 yards to the Vikings' 5, then hit him again with a bullet pass for a 36-14 lead.

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings' first-round draft pick, had a miserable debut. In his first four possessions, he was sacked five times for 46 yards and misfired a bomb to a wide-open Tony Bland.

Fourth-string Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman was sacked for a 40-yard loss by Keith Council in the fourth quarter, the ball skidding the last 20 yards after he fumbled.

He atoned with a 39-yard TD pass to MacArthur Johnson in the final minute.

Giants coach Jim Fassel missed the game to be with his critically ill mother in Arizona. Offensive coordinator Jim Skipper and defensive coordinator John Fox ran the team.

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