MVP Dreams Seem A Distant Memory

Daunte Culpepper's hopes for an MVP season might have gone out of the window with his performance in the first two games, but he still believes the team's goals are attainable.

Two games into the season, Daunte Culpepper's MVP form of 2004 is a distant memory.

A second consecutive subpar performance in Sunday's 37-8 loss to the Bengals left Culpepper with eight interceptions and 10 turnovers this season. He will enter this week's home game against the Saints with no touchdown passes and a remarkably poor 41.6 passer rating.

Not the type of performance new owner Zygi Wilf expected when he gave Culpepper an almost $8 million bump in pay for this season.

But Culpepper, in typical fashion, remains optimistic that he and the Vikings can turn things around.

"I definitely feel we still can obtain all our goals," he said. "It's tough saying it after a loss like we had (in Cincinnati) but my confidence hasn't faded at all because I know what we've got. I'm going to be just as confident as ever when I get to work on Wednesday to get better this week and go out and play winning football on Sunday."

He certainly will have to be better than he was at Paul Brown Stadium after throwing a career-high five interceptions and registering a career-low 36.4 passer rating.

In Culpepper's defense, he no longer has standout receiver Randy Moss at his disposal and he has been under heavy pressure in the first two games.

But Culpepper said he can't afford to worry about things such as how much he misses Moss or former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who now holds the same job with the Miami Dolphins.

"The thing is they are not here, that's what is most important," Culpepper said. "That's not important because we've got the guys that can go out, make plays and get it done.

"We just have to find it within ourselves to do it. It's as simple as that. If we played like we played (in the loss to the Bengals) and Coach Linehan and Moss (were here), still the same thing would happen. There is no magic solution. You play like the way we played, you're going to lose no matter who you've got on the field."


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