Where Now?

The Vikings granted Daunte Culpepper his wish to be traded, but was a second-round pick for a QB under contract for more than just this year enough compensation?

Dolphins fans have to be ecstatic today. The team took a chance on Daunte Culpepper's severe knee injury being enough to recover from to make it worth trading the 51st overall pick in the 2006 draft to get him. Keep in mind these are the same Dolphins that traded a second-round pick two years ago to acquire A.J. Feeley from the Eagles.

Culpepper's much-publicized dissatisfaction with the Vikings in the months since his injury have been pretty well drawn out by now. He didn't want Mike Tice to be fired. He wanted $10 million in guaranteed money added to his current contract and he became the king of the e-mails over the past couple of months. It was clear Culpepper didn't want to stay and, considering how many teams dropped out of contention -- like the QB starved Raiders and Ravens -- the Vikings may have actually been fortunate to get a second-round pick. Seeing as Culpepper made it clear he didn't want to play with the Vikings again, getting anything may be a positive sign.

Others can easily see this from Miami's situation. A franchise that has been a QB revolving door since Dan Marino went away six years ago finally got a franchise QB -- and for the cost of magic beans.

In the end, it will likely take years to determine whether this was a good deal or not and the truth is we may never know. An unmotivated Culpepper who showed no willingness to learn the West Coast Offense could well have been a waste of money and could have divided the locker room. Moving to a team that installed the Scott Linehan offense and is keeping it though Linehan has moved on could be the best thing that happened to Culpepper.

This could end up being a deal that will be good for both teams. Brad Childress can move on with his guys and Pepp can try to get his career back. If both teams are successful, it could wind up being one of the rare win-win scenarios.

* Vikings fans will be interested in seeing the 2006 schedule when it's released next month. The Vikings will play the Dolphins in Miami. What do you suppose the chances are that Culpepper will want to be ready for that game?
* News out of Seattle is that the Seahawks are seeking a clarification on the contract language of the offer sheet the Vikings signed Steve Hutchinson to. The team is asking the league if it can merely meet the specifics -- seven years, $49 million with $13 million counting against the 2006 salary cap -- without meeting some of the poison pills built into it, such as guaranteeing Hutchinson to be the highest paid offensive lineman on the team and in lieu of that guaranteeing the entire contract.
* There has already been talk that the Vikings may look to package picks Nos. 17, 48 and 51 on draft day to move into a spot to grab one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Because of the iffy nature of teams moving up and down on draft day, if that is the Vikings' plan, it would likely not be a done deal until the draft starts and the guy they want is assured of still being available.
* The Vikings have contacted the agent for Josh McCown of the Cardinals, who lost his job to Kurt Warner last season.
* To make additional room under the cap to sign Culpepper, the Dolphins released QB Gus Frerotte.
* The Seahawks are going to have Nate Burleson come in for a visit. A restricted free agent, Burleson would only cost a third-round pick if the Vikings don't match Seattle's offer. It would be ironic if the Seahawks tried to lace a contract that would make it costly for the Vikings to match.
* Ravens safety Will Demps visited Winter Park Tuesday, but no deal was struck.
* The Vikings lost out on Dexter Jackson formerly of the Bucs more by weather than a lack of interest. Jackson was supposed to visit Winter Park on Monday, but a March blizzard that droppped as much as a foot of snow around the Twin Cities cancelled his flight from Cincinnati. Stuck in Cincy, it gave the Bengals a chance to sweeten their offer, and Jackson and his agent agreed before getting a chance to see what the Vikes were willing to offer.
* The home page of Culpepper's website has changed since the trade. He no longer is shown in a Vikings uniform. Instead, the site now contains a full head shot of Culpepper giving a menacing stare at the viewer. Perhaps that's what Childress saw in their first face-to-face meeting and changed his mind about keeping him. In turn, the Vikings' official web site, changed out its front-page picture of Culpepper for an image of Childress.

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