Culpepper Likely Done

Irony meets reality today, as the Vikings learn the fate of Daunte Culpepper. If early indications mean anything, the nightmare will be true.

The moment Daunte Culpepper's hand slammed down on the cart taking him off the field Sunday in the Vikings' loss to the Panthers, it was apparent his injury wasn't one of those that can be fixed with tape or a shot. It had all the makings of a season-ender.

The prognosis hasn't been much better in the hours since Culpepper grabbed his right knee after being hit low from the side by Carolina defensive back Chris Gamble. Caveating his statements by saying he's not a doctor, head coach Mike Tice said Culpepper's likely prognosis "doesn't look good." Teammates echoed those statements in the locker room following the game.

Culpepper refused to rule out the possibility that the injury isn't as severe as feared, but the reality and emotion that was present in the locker room tells a different story. From what VU has heard, the fear is that not only is the anterior cruciate ligament in Culpepper's right knee was damaged, but there are concerns that his medial collateral ligament and/or his posterior collaterial ligament may also be involved.

Much more difinitive news will likely be made official later today, but, as it stands now, there are grave concerns that Culpepper's 2005 season is over.

MONDAY NOTES
* Culpepper left the stadium Sunday with crutches and a knee brace.
* If Culpepper is done for the season, the Vikings will be in the market for a new backup to Brad Johnson. VU has been told Jeff George might make overtures to let Tice know he is still available.
* Koren Robinson suffered a concussion Sunday returning a kickoff late in the first half. He didn't return to the game. Troy Williamson took his place on kick returns.
* Of the game time this season, the Vikings have been behind by 20 or more points for more than 40 percent of the time that has run off the clock.
* Fred Smoot's vow of silence with the local media was made moot Sunday. Not only did Steve Smith, who was locked up all day with Smoot, set a franchise record with 201 receiving yards, Smoot was also called for four penalties.
* Despite being viewed as healthy enough to play, both DE Spencer Johnson and LB Dontarrious Thomas were de-activated Sunday.

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