Worst Fears Confirmed

The turmoil of 2005 has again reared its ugly head as Daunte Culpepper becomes the latest casualty of a season on the brink.

Just when you thought you'd seen enough crazy things with the Vikings in 2005, Daunte Culpepper's injury just seems like a bitter cherry on top of the cake. In a year that already saw Mike Tice scalping tickets, Reggie Fowler unable to come up with the mystery cash needed to buy the team, Randy Moss traded, Onterrio Smith busted with a Whizzinator, Kevin Williams arrested for domestic violence, Bryant McKinnie arrested for gas station violence and the ode to Al and Alma, the Vikings might consider the theme song from a show by Alan Alda -- "Suicide Is Painless."

The Culpepper injury is just the latest chapter in a sad saga, after it was revealed what VU had reported late Sunday -- that not only was Culpepper's right ACL torn, but his MCL and PCL as well. He will have to wait two to three weeks for the significant swelling currently on the knee to go down before he can have surgery. But that's just the beginning.

When Culpepper hurt his left knee early in his career, a zealous TV news station projected he could be out for more than a year -- which proved to be wrong. But the rehab time for such an injury as the one Culpepper has sustained is nine months at a minimum, which would take him to the start of training camp. That's the best-case scenario.

If it wasn't a tough time being a Vikings fan before, this makes it that much more difficult to swallow, as a year many thought could include a trip to the Super Bowl is slipping away fast.

TUESDAY NOTES
* With Culpepper gone, the immediate plan by the Vikings is to promote Brad Johnson to No. 1 and elevate Shaun Hill to No. 2 quarterback.
* The Vikings have a short list of candidates to look at for competition for Hill at No. 2. The list includes Doug Johnson, Jeff George, Jesse Palmer and Jonathan Quinn.
* Fred Smoot had an MRI done Monday that showed a bruised right shoulder -- and a partially torn ego.
* Moe Williams is scheduled for an MRI today on his aching back.
* The boat scandal just won't go away. On ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption," Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser dressed up in garb like the uniforms worn on "The Love Boat" and each wore a name tag -- Wilbon's said "Al" and Kornheiser, who also donned a cheap blonde wig, had one that said "Alma."

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