Culpepper Talks About Knee

Daunte Culpepper is looking to play his first full injury-free season and is buying into Mike Tice's "student of the game" challenge.

Daunte Culpepper discussed several topics Monday, including his running style.

In his first full season as a quarterback, Culpepper ran with a reckless style, not unusual for running quarterbacks. But, with his size, he had a tendency to lower his shoulder on safeties and linebackers and take a big hit to get extra yardage.

The result, however, was an ankle injury in 2000 that limited his effectiveness late in the season and a knee injury that ended his 2001 season after 11 games.

Monday, Culpepper said something he didn't say all last season -- his knee injury actually occurred in the season opener vs. Carolina and got progressively worse as the season went on, as loose cartilage eventually became a minor tear in his ailing knee.

Now healthy, Culpepper is ready to silence those who say he is too reckless and faces more injuries as a rusher. He even got a slight jab from head coach Mike Tice, who said Culpepper needed to become a "student of the game." Translation: run when the situation calls for it but, for the good of the team, get down to minimize the number of massive hits he will be exposed to. And learn to read defenses better.

Culpepper won't change his style and become a glacier-like pocket passer. Far from it. At 255 pounds, he's at the lightest weight of his NFL career, but he is embracing the philosophy of Tice and has set a goal of playing 16 injury-free games this season.

If Culpepper is healthy for a full season, don't be shocked to see the Vikings making a playoff run.
* In other Culpepper-related news, VU has been told that the lawsuit between Nike and Reebok over Culpepper's jump from the one shoe giant to the other has been settled and Culpepper is now free to do advertising spots for Reebok.
* The McKinnie Holdout Watch has hit a fourth day. VU has been told the two sides remain far apart, but the negotiations are heating up. Tice said any protracted holdout will cost McKinnie an immediate starting position.
* In the first day of full-pad practice Monday, there was some heavy hitting going on and RB James Wofford saw his chances of making the team take a serious hit. Early in practice, Wofford's left knee was rolled back on a play that forced him out of practice. While the injury isn't seen as serious, he's going to be monitored carefully during today's and future practices. The Vikings may keep four running backs on the roster and Michael Bennett, Doug Chapman and Moe Williams look to have three of those spots already sewn up.
* In other injury news, MLB Henri Crockett tweaked his right hamstring and was limited in practice Monday.
* The Vikings cut punter Brian Morton. Kyle Richardson is the clear front-runner for the punting position and now has seen his competition cut down to just one punter.
* In former Vikings news, Terry Allen broke his right pinky in practice with the Saints, which could limit his use until the finger heals because Allen carries the ball almost exclusively on the right side.
* DT Daryl Gardener, rumored to have cursory interest from the Vikings, has narrowed his choices for a new team down to Denver and Washington.

Viking Update Top Stories