"I don't think the football part of it bothers him that much," Saban said. "I think it's the work that he does to try to strengthen it and some of the rehab that he's doing is making him a little bit sore. Then that soreness makes it a little harder for him to do all the stuff he needs to do in football.
"I think it's a work in progress to get him where he wants to be and we would like for him to be."
Culpepper, who declined comment Monday, was benched after struggling with both physical and mental errors through the season's first four games. Saban said Culpepper's physical problems stemmed from his discontinuation of his rehabilitative program once the preseason began.
Asked whether he anticipated Culpepper being ready to return for the Vikings game, Saban said, "I don't anticipate anything. I can't make a prediction on that.
"I don't think what game it is, regardless of how much somebody wants to do it or what their motivation is ... Physically we have to be right to make it happen. Whenever that timetable proves to be the way it needs to be, then that's when we'll make that decision."