Friday, March 10, 2006


ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was reporting that the Vikings were moving quickly to trade away Culpepper, looking to get him dealt before the free agency period began on 12:01 AM Saturday. One hour after that initial report, Mortensen reported that the Vikings had found a suitor and that a deal was in place.

Of all the times you’d want a media leak to occur, this would be it.

Making things even more intriguing is the fact that these NFL “sources” were reporting that the mystery team involved in the trade was not the Oakland Raiders, as was first reported by Mortensen. That leaves the Dolphins as the logical front runner, although speculations range about the other team being the Detroit Lions, or the New Orleans Saints or the Jets and the Ravens. One of the more logical teams mentioned are the Arizona Cardinals because of Culpepper’s old Vikings coach, Dennis Green running things down there in Tempe.

But let’s assume it is the Dolphins. What does this mean?

First of all, it would mean we say goodbye to Drew Brees, who is supposed to come into town to visit Dolphins camp as soon as the clock strikes midnight – and one – on Saturday. This means that we are giving up the right to choose between the right quarterback for a quick fix trade that may or may not blow up in our face. With Brees on the market, and with the Dolphins reportedly high on his list of suitors, we at least had the opportunity to delve and dig and see if Brees was, in fact, a good fit down here or if we should move on to other options. But if the Dolphins are the team that has this deal in place, it means they would have pulled the trigger, rather hastily in my opinion, to get a lesser quarterback in Culpepper.

I say lesser only because I think Brees is the better QB. Sure, Culpepper has the big arm. But Brees has the better winning percentage, the better QB rating, is more accurate and more playoff experienced and more playoff-ready. He’s also younger than Culpepper and has proven to be adaptable. He has also proven he can win with lesser receivers at his disposal – something Culpepper has yet to show us. And Brees’ injury, as bad as it was, is not as serious as Culpepper’s.

Culpepper completely shredded his knee last year. Everything tore. The ACL, MCL, MCI and AT&T. Every ligament that a human being has in their knee was torn like pieces of confetti.

We have no preliminary reports on Culpepper’s rehab. Some say he’ll only miss mini-camp. Others say he’ll be out until mid-season!

With Brees, we have a renowned surgeon – Dr. James Andrews – telling us Brees will be back to normal by September.

There’s very little security in Culpepper at the moment. Prior to the injury, Culpepper wasn’t much of a pocket passer. Now he’ll almost exclusively have to be one.

Is Culpepper better than Gus Frerotte? Of course. Frerotte backed him up in Minnesota. He is a huge, HUGE upgrade to Frerotte. And Culpepper’s stats speak for themselves.

In 2000, his first full season, the man had a great year, throwing for 3,937 yards and 33 touchdowns. In 2001, he followed it up with a solid 2,612 yards and 14 touchdowns. 2002, 3,853 yards and 23 TDs – another solid season. His best season came in 2004, when he gave Peyton Manning a run for his money. Culpepper threw for a whopping 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns. That’s Marino-esque.

And other than his 2005 season and his rookie season, Culpepper has not failed to throw 14 or more TDs in a season.

So the resume’ is intact. What’s left is the injury factor and the lingering doubts about Culpepper’s abilities playing without his old battery mate, Randy Moss. Still, his overall numbers don’t lie and it’s the possibility of having a QB down here who can flat out chuck the rock that could have Dolphins fans geeked about our offense again – a feeling we have not felt since Old No. 13 left the building.

If the Dolphins are, in fact, this mystery team, they will be a better team with Culpepper as their quarterback. No question.

I just wonder if they might be acting a little too quickly here. Reports have always been that Brees was on top of Miami’s off-season wish list and yet here, they might be making a trade that needs more than 24 hours to examine before pulling the trigger.

I understand Minnesota’s stance here. They want to get something in return – a draft pick perhaps – instead of letting Culpepper go and getting nothing in return. But the Dolphins need to weigh their options more. They need to bring Brees down here for an interview and they need to see who makes the better fit for the good of the team.

This is not fantasy football where you can just plug in a guy. I guess that’s what’s bothering me more about this report than anything else, the seemingly hastiness of it all.

Daunte Culpepper is a fine QB. His knee will be of constant concern, but I trust if any coaching staff can make it work, it’s this one.

Daunte Culpepper a Dolphin? I guess we’ll know in 24 hours.

Daunte Culpepper a Dolphin. Okay.

But I’d rather we took our time in shopping for our next QB.

And I’d rather we got Drew Brees ...

And stay tuned to the MSD as news breaks about this whole thing.


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