Culpepper's Season is Over

The Vikings got the news they feared Monday, as quarterback Daunte Culpepper's season ended prematurely because of a serious knee injury.

The Minnesota Vikings confirmed Monday that quarterback Daunte Culpepper's season is over.

Culpepper suffered damage to his anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee during a designed run play in Sunday's 38-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Culpepper had been struggling with injuries to that same knee since the second game of the season.

He suffered the injury on the last play of the first quarter when safety Mike Minter hit him high and cornerback Chris Gamble hit him on the outside of the knee.

"It was a designed play for him. He busted it up the middle," center Melvin Fowler said. "I was right behind him, trailing it, and I saw it all happen. It's unfortunate. He's a great player and will be missed for the time that he's out."

Culpepper is expected to have season-ending surgery in a few weeks.

"He has a long rehab ahead of him … but, no, we don't expect this to be career-threatening," head coach Mike Tice said.

Brad Johnson is expected to assume the starting role for the remainder of the season, but the Vikings are in the market for a replacement backup, either a second- or third-string replacement.

The top available quarterbacks include Rich Gannon, Jeff George, Rick Mirer, Doug Pederson, Jim Miller, Quincy Carter, Brock Huard and Doug Johnson.

Tice said he talked with Gannon Sunday night, but indicated Gannon might only return if given the starting job, which isn't likely to happen with Johnson's more recent experience with the Vikings.

"We're looking at the list – it's a little thin," Tice said.

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