Former Vikings QBs making headlines elsewhere

Three former Vikings quarterbacks were in the news from Detroit to San Francisco as they try to increase their value, from free agent Daunte Culpepper to new starter Shaun Hill to former starter J.T. O'Sullivan.

While the Vikings have their starter for the rest of the season in Gus Frerotte, the case isn't so open and closed with former Vikings quarterbacks around the country.

At one time, Daunte Culpepper was the quarterback of the present and future for the Vikings. Then came a 2005 knee injury, an early fumble in his relationship with then-new head coach Brad Childress and finally a new team. Culpepper hurried back from three torn knee ligaments to make a premature comeback in Miami, then tried his luck in Oakland.

Finally, after being unable to come to terms with other teams that showed an interest in him, Culpepper decided to retire a few weeks ago. That didn't last long, as he cancelled a visit with the Kansas City Chiefs to pursue better offers (his words). Next thing we knew, Culpepper was working out of the Detroit Lions.

According to Lions coach Rod Marinelli, Culpepper's workout was more than just a normal workout.

"Oh yeah, we went in and had a good workout with him. We had a chance to visit with him. So, that's where it's at," Marinelli said. "I thought he moved around good. We had a bunch of guys in. You know, we bring them in every Tuesday. He moved around good; good feet and all those things."

With Dan Orlovsky struggling to adequately replace Jon Kitna, now he has the prospect of having Culpepper's presence hang over him.

Despite reports of a contract being done on Wednesday, Culpepper left without signing, but it still remains a possibility.

"We don't know where we're at with it right now," Marinelli said. "But it's a very good, veteran football player that's been a very good player in this league, and he's young."

Orlovsky played dumb when asked about Culpepper. "The Bears brought in Culpepper?" he said.

No, the Lions.

"Oh, we did?" he said. "Didn't even know that. Did not know. Just found out. No thoughts."

No thoughts at all?

"No," he said. "That's not going to have any bearing on me. I just found out from you."

Marinelli said Wednesday that the communications are still open with Culpepper, but he said the same held true with QB Tim Rattay, who worked out for the Lions last week.

Rattay is best known for the time he spent with San Francisco, where a couple of more former Vikings quarterbacks are mixing it up.

After a lackluster performance last week, J.T. O'Sullivan is out as the 49ers starter and Shaun Hill is in. Both them were Vikings backups under Mike Tice.

Hill played 10 quarters for the 49ers last season. In that short time, Hill completed 68.4 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 101.3.

Hill parlayed that success into a three-year, $6 million contract and an opportunity to compete for the starting job against Alex Smith. However, one week into training camp, offensive coordinator Mike Martz pulled Hill out of the running and gave O'Sullivan a chance.

O'Sullivan won the job, and Smith was the backup. But Smith sustained a fractured shoulder before the first game, and now O'Sullivan has lost his job. That means Hill's first start of the season will come Nov. 10 against the Arizona Cardinals.

"I feel like I'm a lot further along than I was in training camp in the offense," Hill said. "Being able to sit back and watch J.T. in the offense really helped - to kind of see some of those things in action that Coach Martz was talking about in training camp.

"These eight weeks I've continued to learn the offense and I feel far more advanced in it now than I was back in August."

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