Pepp Speaks

In hopes of restoring his public image, Daunte Culpepper finally speaks out.

After months trapped within the cone of silence, Dolphins new QB Daunte Culpepper sat down with ESPN's Andrea Kremer. Culpepper, sporting a kicky razor-wire beard that could explain his absence from the media spotlight (those bad boys take time), told Kremer he expects to be ready for opening day of the 2006 season.

Culpepper, who reported to the Dolphins training facility to meet his new coaches and teammates, still played the role of misunderstood martyr.

The second part of the interview is scheduled to air on tonight's edition of "Sports Center" -- which Kremer teased Wednesday night as including Culpepper's side of the boat scandal.

VU has been told that the Dolphins intend to honor the $8 million Culpepper is due, but will change it slightly for cap relief by giving him $7 million in a roster bonus and $1 million in base salary.

In 80 starts with the Vikings, Culpepper had a record of 38-42. Over the last three years, the Vikings were 17-20 with Culpepper as their starter and 9-2 when he was sidelined.

THURSDAY NOTES
* Dante DiTrapano, the agent for Randy Moss, was arrested Tuesday and charged with possession of crack cocaine. A spokesperson for his firm said that DiTrapano has been suffering from depression. An arrest on crack possession likely won't be the end of his depression.
* Toniu Fonoti failed a physical with the Raiders Wednesday, putting him back on the free agent market. He is expected to meet the Bucs today.
* The Vikings lost out on another safety candidate. Will Demps, who was scheduled to come to Winter Park Wednesday, signed a deal with the Giants.
* Fullback William Henderson is said to be close to signing a contract with the Vikings.
* The Giants, aside from taking Demps away, re-signed former Vikings offensive lineman Lewis Kelly.
* Nate Burleson is in Seattle today to talk with the Seahawks. Burleson, a restricted free agent, would only require a third-round pick as compensation if he signs with the 'Hawks and the Vikings don't match.
* Speaking of Seattle, there is still no word whether the 'Hawks are going to match the offer for guard Steve Hutchinson. Earlier in the week, Seahawks officials asked the league for clarification it they had to only match the contract particulars -- seven years, $49 million with $13 million up front -- or if they also had to meet the smaller contract stipulation about being the highest paid offensive lineman on the roster or his entire contract would be guaranteed.

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