Culpepper, Berger Surgeries Successful

The Vikings released a statement saying that surgeries on Daunte Culpepper and Mitch Berger both went well, but Culpepper is a big question when it comes to playing again this season.

Vikings coach Dennis Green typically doesn't conduct interviews with the local press on Fridays, so it wasn't unsual that he would make an exception this week, despite having two former Pro Bowlers undergo surgery Thursday.

Green released a one-paragraph statement on the surgeries, saying Culpepper's surgery went "as expected and he has a positive prognosis." He added that his rehabilitation will begin immediately.

VU reported from other sources that no ligament tears were found during the procedure.

While the Vikings still aren't ruling out the possibility of Culpepper returning for the season finale at Baltimore, VU has been told that scenario is extremely unlikely, since Culpepper would be only two weeks removed from surgery in what is, in effect, a meaningless game -- at least in the long-term perspective of a superstar player returning from an injury for a team that won't be going to the playoffs. The conventional wisdom is that the team will side with the cautious perspective -- not risking potential further injury to Culpepper when there are bigger fish to fry in coming years.

The bottom line, from what we're hearing, is that this is Todd Bouman's chance to show what he can do against playoff teams like the Packers and Ravens and that Culpepper will remain on the sidelines and begin preparing for 2002.

SATURDAY NOTES
* Todd Bouman took every snap with the first team Friday, non-typical for a Vikings Friday practice. However, the team wanted to give his ailing thumb a full test, and Bouman proclaimed himself fit to play Sunday.
* The Vikings aren't the only team battling injuries. The Jaguars secondary is in disarray. CB Aaron Beasley was placed on injured reserve Friday and the other starting corner, Fernando Bryant, likely won't play Sunday with injuries of his own.
* For a second straight day, Mark Brunell practiced for the Jaguars and he is also expected to start Sunday, despite a painful quadriceps injury that has made him a sitting target -- he's been sacked 16 times in the last two games.
* Randy Moss is expected to appeal his fines for taunting, which has been met with mixed reaction. While most of us at VU agree that his backward trotting TD vs. the Giants didn't constitute taunting under league rules -- it wasn't directed at any player in particular -- it is hard to imagine the league won't uphold his taunting ruling vs. Detroit. He clearly made motions at the Lions bench -- directly in front of coach Marty Mornhinweg -- and not only did a couple of Lions come off the bench in response to get in Moss' grill, a towel came flying out from a player from a distance away. It was almost by definition taunting, so, while VU believes Moss could have a case for a reduction or elimination of his $10,000 fine in the Giants game -- more showboating than actual taunting -- there is little chance his protest to the taunt from the Lions game will even get a legitimate hearing. The evidence is just too strong against him.

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