Culpepper Looks to Improve Comparisons

When Daunte Culpepper steps on the field tomorrow in a matchup with Donovan McNabb, it will be his seventh meeting with fellow members of the QB Class of '99.

The 1999 draft is already being hailed as one of the great quarterback crops ever to come out of one draft. Even though only two-and-a-half years removed, seven current or former NFL starters came from this groups -- Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, Shaun King and Aaron Brooks.

From the beginning, the comparisions were made, especially of the top quarterbacks. Couch was the first one out of the gate, followed by McNabb, McNown and Smith. Later that same year, King emerged, leaving just Culpepper and Brooks as the last to become starters. Both of the latter led their teams to the playoffs last year and now appear to be on par with some of the NFL's best quarterbacks, but the comparisons continue.

Heading into tomorrow's game with the Eagles, those comparisons remain as Culpepper and McNabb meet for the first time. This time around, however, the advantage may be with Culpepper.

Daunte doesn't have a losing record against of the other members of the Class of '99. He's gone 4-2 overall -- 2-0 vs. McNown and 1-1 each vs. Brooks and King.

The Vikings hope the experience gained in those wins -- he also won his first matchup with the previous three -- will bode well for when he meets the fourth Sunday.

* VU has been told Doug Chapman will start at RB Sunday, but Michael Bennett will see plenty of playing time, as Chapman is expected to get 10 to 15 carries and Bennett to get 6 to 10 carries if the Vikings can establish a ground game.
* The Vikings are downplaying their 9-1 record coming out of bye weeks. As many recall, the Vikings were 9-1 heading into bye weeks before being flushed by the Buccaneers. However, the 9-1 mark remains the best of any team in the NFL coming off a bye week.
* Ed McDaniel could set a couple of milestones Sunday. He needs seven tackles to become just the fifth Viking in history to top 1,000 tackles and with one tackle for a loss, he will break Carl Eller's team record of 87. Eddie Mac is currently at 86.5 tackles for a loss.
* Several key matchups will play themselves out Sunday. The Vikings' ninth-rated offense will match up with a fifth-ranked Eagles defense that is fourth in rushing TDs allowed and third in passing TDs surrendered. Also, the Eagles are ranked 26th in sacks allowed with 25 while the Vikings are last in the NFL in sacks with just nine. It will be critical for the Vikings to apply pressure on Donovan McNabb early to help those numbers.
* The Vikings are 11-7 vs. the Eagles all time and 1-1 under Dennis Green.

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