Bouman Eager For Opportunity

Quarterback Todd Bouman says he has proven it to himself that he deserves a shot to start in the NFL, but he knows his role for now is as a backup.

Todd Bouman is no longer the young backup quarterback from St. Cloud State just hoping to get a chance with the Vikings. Bouman is in his sixth season and knows that if he is ever going to get an opportunity to be a starter it will have to come sooner rather than later.

"I've been here a long time," Bouman told the Independent of Marshall, Minn., this week. "I have a role as the backup. By the same token, my patience is wearing thin."

He also told the newspaper he would take a harder look at his career during the offseason.

"Being from Minnesota and close to my friends is important, but I'm 30 years old," he said. "I've proven to myself that I definitely deserve a shot."

Bouman's comments came after he saw his first action of the season in the Vikings' 27-20 loss to the Giants on Sunday. He was brought in to relieve the struggling Daunte Culpepper and completed three of six passes for 85 yards. He led the team to two touchdowns but also fumbled twice.

On Monday, head coach Mike Tice told Culpepper that he was sticking with him. Bouman found out about Tice's decision through the media after Culpepper informed the press he would start. Tice had tried to keep it quiet until he talked to Bouman, but Culpepper did not know that.

Asked about his comments to the Independent, Bouman joked, "Man, you guys travel fast."

Bouman, who attended Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School in the small town of Ruthton, Minn., did not show much interest in elaborating on his statements. However, he also did not back away from them.

"It's not that I'm impatient," he said. "I'm getting older now and you just wait and see what happens in the future. Right now, I'm very, very happy with where I am."

So does Bouman plan to try to explore his options in the offseason? "It's a situation where I'm very happy with where I am right now, and the offseason is all about the offseason," he said. "We'll worry about that when the time comes."

While Bouman might be frustrated by his own situation, there is little doubt that he wants to see Culpepper succeed. "I want Daunte to go out there and play great, throw four or five touchdowns," Bouman said. "That will make me more happy than anything in this world. You just wait and see what happens."

As for what happened Monday when Bouman learned through the media that Tice would start Culpepper against the Packers, the quarterback seemed to grow frustrated when pressed on the issue.

"No," he said when asked if the circumstances made it disappointing. "It's just part of the process and part of what goes on. Other than that, it totally got blown out of proportion."

Considering the lack of quality quarterbacks around the NFL — look no farther than Cincinnati for proof — Bouman would certainly stand to get a shot as a starter if he went elsewhere.

Short-term, however, it would take a trade for that to happen. Bouman signed a three-year, $2.1 million deal before the 2001 season.

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