I finally updated the sidebar (let me know if you find a dead link or want something added or removed or something) and I’m finally back to making posts that aren’t just weeks in review. Hooray me.
I’ve long been a Daunte Culpepper apologist, and nothing has changed lately, especially now that the Vikings have Brooks Bollinger as their most accomplished QB, and the Dolphins have opted for Trent Green, a 37 year old coming off a massive head injury. I think it’s important, if to no one but myself, to note that Culpepper hasn’t caught a break since he was drafted back in 1999.
Culpepper came into an organization that was led by Denny Green, who may not have been the best at clock management, but has one of the best eyes for offensive talent in recent memory. Therefore, when Culpepper came into the league, he had one of the best cadres of wide outs in the league, which is typically a boon for a developing young quarterback, and it was for Culpepper, but it was also the beginning of the end.
Quarterbacks on all their rosters are the traditional leaders of their squads, and at Central Florida, it was no different for Culpepper. Then, he came to Minnesota where Cris Carter and Randy Moss were clearly the steering force behind the team. Culpepper was talked over by Moss, undermined for 5 years until Moss left for Oakland. Then, before he could step up and become a leader he attended a boat party organized by the new cornerback Fred Smoot, he was eyeballed receiving a lap dance, and was hassled by media everywhere for that.
Yes. A young man is offered a lap dance by a beautiful woman, and he has the audacity to accept. I’m shocked. This makes Culpepper a bad person. Granted, there were a lot worse things going on on the Love Boat than just lap dances, but Culpepper was never accused of any of them, and was only charged because he was the most recognizable figure on the boat. Who knows who the third string free safety is anyways?
During that season, when he went to the boat party, he was having a tough time feeling out his new receivers. He was ridiculed for this as well, people saying he was only successful with Randy Moss, and that anyone could succeed if they were throwing to Moss (The Raiders decisively proved otherwise). People called for, and got, Brad Johnson when Culpepper suffered a knee injury, and Johnson posted a couple victories against the Browns and the even lowlier Lions, and everyone pronounced him the man ho should be leading the team. Well, Vikings fans got their wish, and Culpepper was sent to Miami, while Brad Childress and Johnson, with a lot of help from general management, continued to drive the Vikings into the ground.
It should end there, because the Vikings are the dumbest team in the league. It didn’t. Dolphins coach Nick Saban thought it a good idea to put Culpepper out there earlier than he should have. Culpepper had no mobility, for which he was famous for, and was hit early and often, unable to get into a rhythm, and he was finally benched due to his injuries. Then, he was driven out of town, because his injuries (which he had never healed from) made him less capable.
What would have happened if Culpepper hadn’t run into bad luck at every turn? Who knows. Clearly, his early season success was thanks in large part to his situation, but how much of his downfall had to do with the Vikings? Given the right situation, and a trainer that keeps him off the field until he’s ready. I still think Culpepper could be a viable choice at QB. Hey, the Vikes could use him.