By Jim Thomas

MINNEAPOLIS Richie Incognito couldn't help crowing when reminded that the Minnesota defense was close to a modern-day record for fewest rushing yards allowed.

"No. No thank you. No record," replied Incognito, the Rams' right guard.

Then he added with a yell, "O-line!"

O-line, indeed. Matched up against one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the league in Minnesota's Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, the Rams' offensive line more than held its own.

"It was a long, long day," said center Brett Romberg, who made his third NFL start for the Rams on Sunday. "I had my lunch pail and my hard hat with me the whole time."

So the Williamses were as good as advertised?

"Decent," Incognito deadpanned.

"They were a handful," Romberg said.

With considerable help from the tight ends, fullback Madison Hedgecock, and the wide receivers corps, the Rams punched out 168 yards rushing in Sunday's 41-21 victory. Minnesota needed to hold the Rams under 153 yards rushing to break the 2000 Baltimore Ravens' league record for fewest rushing yards allowed in one season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Steven Jackson's 59-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put the Rams over 153 for the day.

Adeyanju sits

Rookie defensive end Victor Adeyanju returned last week to participate in 17 plays against Washington after missing the previous three games with a fractured forearm. But wearing a bulky cast, Adeyanju wasn't very effective against the Redskins. As a result, he was among the seven designated inactive players Sunday for the Rams.

The others: RB Rich Alexis; LB Jamal Brooks; CB Jerametrius Butler; OT Jeremy Parquet; FB Paul Smith; and C-G Larry Turner.

Harvard reunion

Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Rams' No. 3 quarterback, was on the field for the team's final offensive series, seeing his first action of the season. After three handoffs to No. 3 running back Kay-Jay Harris, Fitzpatrick gained a first down on a 2-yard quarterback sneak on fourth and inches. That finished off the Vikings, who were out of timeouts with 1 minute 47 seconds to play.

Fitzpatrick's appearance meant that three Harvard products played in the same NFL game for the first time in league history. The other Harvard Crimson playing Sunday at the Metrodome were Rams special teamer and backup linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski and Minnesota starting center Matt Birk.


Minnesota WR Martin Nance, a St. Louisan from Pattonville High, caught four passes for 33 yards Sunday in his first NFL game. The Miami (Ohio) product had been on the Vikings' practice squad most of the year. ... With six tackles according to press box stats, Rams S Corey Chavous established a career high with 117 stops this season. ... Sunday's victory was the first for the Rams in Minnesota since 1978. ... The Rams reported no injuries after Sunday's game.