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.
Culpepper's Season is Over
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings shut out from compensatory picksWhile four teams were awarded four compensatory picks each in the 2017 NFL Draft and 16 teams got at least one compensatory pick, the Minnesota Vikings weren't among them.
Scout NFL Network12:29 PM
Podcast: Keys to Shurmur, keys for SouhanJim Souhan arrives late, rants on technology and we eventually dive into Pat Shurmur’s strengths and more Minnesota Vikings topics.
Viking Update8:32 AM
Spielman saw progress in Kalil before injuryThe Minnesota Vikings will be looking for a left tackle in free agency, but that might not exclude their own free agent, Matt Kalil.
Viking Update7:15 AM
Outside Linebacker: Replacing GreenwayIt’s been almost two months since the Vikings’ last game and we’re still waiting for the announcement of Chad Greenway’s retirement. Who will replace him? There are candidates.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:44 PM
Spielman: Bradford in prime of his careerWith the benefit of hindsight, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he would do the Sam Bradford trade again in a millisecond.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:15 PM