Vikes to Meet Culpepper in November

The 2006 NFL schedule will be released today, but it is expected to include a mid-November trip to Miami to face former Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper.

The NFL regular-season schedule won't be officially released until 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time today, but VU has been told that the schedule will put the Dolphins on a date with the Vikings that will almost assure Daunte Culpepper will be in the lineup and on the field.

The Vikings-Dolphins meeting is expected to come Nov. 19, which would be more than a year removed from Culpepper's devastating knee injury that began the downward spiral between Pepp and Vikings management and eventually led to his being traded to the Dolphins last month for a second-round pick.

Thanks to a new "flex schedule" instituted by the league, if the Vikings and Dolphins are both successful early in the season, the game could be moved to a Sunday night telecast to maximize impact of the meeting -- which is bound to be one of the marquee games of that week.

There may have been some in the Vikings organization that would have preferred to play the Dolphins early, when Culpepper may not be at 100 percent. But for those who know how the NFL likes to work its schedule to include players and coaches that have moved from one team to another, this shouldn't have come as any big surprise.

The full schedule will be unveiled at 1 p.m. on NFL Network.

THURSDAY NOTES
* The Vikings will conduct their first veterans minicamp starting tomorrow and running through Sunday at Winter Park.
* The NFL has announced an eight-owner search committee to attempt to find a successor to outgoing Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The owners include Al Davis (Raiders), Lamar Hunt (Chiefs), Woody Johnson (Jets), Jerry Jones (Cowboys), Bob Kraft (Patriots), Mike McCaskey (Bears), Jerry Richardson (Panthers) and Dan Rooney (Steelers).
* The search committee may have a recommendation by the time the owners next meet May 23-24 in Denver.
* The Vikings signed a pair of wide receivers, Ryan Hoag and Jimmy Redmond. Hoag, a former Gustavus Adolphus standout, was in Vikings training camp last year, while Redmond, who has been out of the league for two seasons, spent 26 games with the Jaguars in 2002-03.
* The Vikes hired Brendan Daly as their defensive quality control coach, bringing to 21 the number of Vikings assistant coaches on staff.

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