Culpepper on the Mend

Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper met the Miami media and talked about recovery from a serious knee injury and his thoughts on Minnesota in an extensive interview that touched on many topics.

Daunte Culpepper may or may not be ready for season opener in his first year with the Miami Dolphins, but that's his goal.

The quarterback is recovering from three torn ligaments in his knee, an injury suffered Oct. 30 in his last game as a Minnesota Viking. Since then, Culpepper and new Vikings head coach Brad Childress ended a short but strained relationship when the Vikings traded the QB to Miami for a second-round pick in this month's NFL draft.

"Right now I'm doing mostly running straight ahead, not a lot of cutting, and just mainly strengthening exercises – squats, leg extensions, leg curls, things like that," Culpepper said. "Doing many exercises on the field as well to get the strengthening in my legs."

Culpepper is hoping to play in some preseason games as well, but he doesn't want to rush back from the injury. However, he did relay a story that should convey confidence in his prognosis.

"Dr. (James) Andrews did my surgery. He said to me jokingly, and also seriously, that if he had done the surgery 100 times, he didn't think he could have done it any better. That's all I really needed to hear. I am going to go at this thing full force. I am going to play the way I have always played with the same tenacity and the same eagerness to make plays and get it done either way, running or throwing. Whatever it takes."

Culpepper's interview in Miami was extensive and wide-ranging.

Among the topics broached:

  • On getting out of Minnesota: "It wasn't that I wanted to get out, it's just I think for both sides, it was good for me to move on – good for the Vikings too. That's the way it happened and I'm happy right now. I'm happy with the opportunity I have here."

  • On playing in offense similar to the one he succeeded in under Scott Linehan with the Vikings: "That helps. It helps to come into a quarterback-coach meeting and a lot of the terms that they already used last year are the same terms that I used my last four years in Minnesota. That helps a lot. It gives me confidence to know that I'm not just stepping out there blind. I pretty much got my feet wet with a lot of the terminology."

  • On his reunion with former Vikings receivers coach Charlie Baggett: "Coach Baggett is a great coach. He has a lot of years under his belt coaching. I was lucky enough to be coached by him in Minnesota and I am very excited to be back with him with him on the coaching staff. I am very familiar with him and his style and what he expects out of players. He's a great coach. I can say a lot of great things about him. I am just happy to be working with him again."

  • On why he fired his agent, Mason Ashe, to represent himself: "That kind of goes all the way back basically to the Pro Bowl in 2004. I sat down and looked at my whole situation – faith, family, football, finances and future, not in that order – that's pretty much how I categorized everything and it got to, with football, I looked at my whole situation, I felt more comfortable with just me controlling everything. Just me. Even though when you have an agent, they pretty much just go in and get the deal done for you or whatever, I feel like I don't want a middle guy right there, or right now, in my life, in my career. I feel like I have been in it a while and I understand. If I need advice, I'll go to the top people in the whatever category I need advice in and get the advice I need and make my own decisions."

  • On Childress' comments on playing the Vikings this year: "People say what they want to say and people are going to make their own opinions, but people who know me know the type of guy I am and know what I am made of. As far as the Vikings on our schedule, that's just another game on the schedule. I am going to take it one week at a time. Every game, that's the most important game, that next game. When that time comes, when we play the Vikes, I am going to take it just like I do every other week."

  • On his next step in rehabilitating his injury: "Things are looking good. I am not going to predict, rush myself or be unsmart about anything about it. I know it's a very sensitive injury. Only a couple people have ever had it and come back from it. I am just glad to be making the progress that I am making. Hopefully it continues."

  • On charges in the boat scandal being dropped: "Everybody can do what they want to do up there, but I felt like I went through the process. From the beginning I said that I was innocent and I'm glad saw it that way after he saw all the evidence and I'm moving forward. They can do what they want to do. I don't care."

  • On his propensity to fumble: "That's part of football, but you have to look at fumbles and lost fumbles. Check my fumbles and check how many I've lost. I might have fumbled here and there, but I am going to do whatever I can to get on it. I try to do what I can not to fumble it too. That happens in football. I don't worry about it. I play the game, try to play as smart as I can as a player and make plays."

  • On being drafted by Minnesota: "It was one of the happiest days of my life. To have a life-long dream of being a professional athletes and pro football player, then to be drafted, it was a very special day to me. I am glad it happened. I am glad for my experiences I had up there, but I am extremely happy about the situation here now and this opportunity that I have and I am looking forward to great things.

  • On reuniting with WR Kelly Campbell: "Kelly Campbell is an extremely fast player. He makes a lot of big plays. He's very enthusiastic and just loves the game of football. I like to play with guys that have a knack for the big plays and he is one of those guys. I am just glad to be able to hopefully link up with him again."

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