The Vikings have a new starting quarterback and renewed hope, but their past performances at Carolina have provided some ugly memories for the team and individual Vikings.
For a franchise that hasn't been around that long, the Carolina Panthers
have done some damage to Minnesota. From Daunte Culpepper
to Brett Favre, from Bryant McKinnie
to Brad Childress, they all have Panthers scars in their psyche.
The Vikings' trip to Carolina will hold some ugly memories, probably more for Vikings fans than players since many of the Panthers' victims are no longer with Minnesota. Daunte Culpepper, Bryant McKinnie, Brett Favre and Brad Childress all have not-so-fond memories of Carolina.
Sunday is the six-year anniversary of Daunte Culpepper's Vikings career coming to an end on the field in a 38-13 loss at Carolina. On the final play of the first quarter, Culpepper took off for 18 yards before CB Chris Gamble tackled him low, blowing out three of the four major ligaments -- ACL, PCL, MCL -- in Culpepper's right knee. Coming off a career year in 2004, Culpepper started 2005 with six touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and a 2-4 record heading into the Panthers game. Coach Mike Tice was fired after the season and replaced by Brad Childress, who butted heads with Culpepper immediately. Culpepper asked for more money or a trade. The Vikings traded Culpepper to the Dolphins for a second-round pick. Culpepper rushed back too soon the next season and played only four games. He was never the same player he was before the knee injury.
Besides the Culpepper injury, the Oct. 30, 2005 game also is known as the day Panthers WR Steve Smith humiliated CB Fred Smoot. Smoot trash-talked Smith in pregame warm-ups. But once the game started, Smith beat Smoot all day long while posting a franchise-record 201 yards and a touchdown. After the touchdown, Smith poked fun of Smoot and the Vikings by sitting on the ground and pretending to row a boat – a reference to the Vikings' infamous Love Boat scandal from earlier in the season.
"Whatchamacallit was talking to me in the pregame," Smith said after the game. "When somebody is banging on your door, I am not going to hide in the corner ... I am going to open it."
The Vikings' only other trip to Carolina also was embarrassing. On Dec. 20, 2009, they were 11-2 and the Panthers were 6-7. The Vikings had Brett Favre in the midst of one of his best seasons. The Panthers had Matt Moore making his third NFL start.
The Panthers scored 20 fourth-quarter points in the Vikings' 26-7 loss that helped keep Minnesota from earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Vikings ended up losing the NFC title game at New Orleans.
LT Bryant McKinnie was awful against Panthers DE Julius Peppers. McKinnie gave up two sacks, several hits and committed two penalties before Childress benched him.
"I had an off day," McKinnie said via Twitter. "This was not a good night for me. There is something we gotta fix this week to put me in better position."
Brett Favre absorbed a tremendous beating in that game at Carolina in 2009. It also was a game in which he argued openly on the sideline with Childress. After the game, Favre acknowledged that he had a "heated discussion" with Childress. Favre said Childress tried to take him out of the game to avoid taking any more hits from Peppers and the Carolina defensive line. The Vikings had clinched the NFC North title hours earlier, but were still in the running for the NFC's best record.
"Brad wanted to go in a different direction. And I wanted to stay in the game," Favre said. "It's not 70-6, but we were up 7-6. I said I'm staying in the game. I'm playing."
Childress was angry that Favre revealed details of their sideline conversations.