"They felt they wanted to go in a different direction," he said. "That's all I'm going to say about that."
This isn't the first time he has faced them anyway, and the last time he played them was at Minnesota, taking some spice away from the revenge angle. He played for Oakland at the Metrodome last year and lost, 29-22.
"Going back and playing at Minnesota, that was very exciting for me," Culpepper said.
"It wasn't awkward at all," he said. "Football's football. We went up there. Obviously we didn't win, but it was fun to go up there and go against a lot of my old friends. It's a similar situation now. I'm just with a different team, but the opportunity's still great."
Culpepper came out of retirement, signed with the Lions on a Tuesday, then started for the Lions that Sunday, Nov. 9 against Jacksonville. Under the circumstances, coach Rod Marinelli has been impressed.
"What he's come in and done in a four-, five-week period is really amazing," Marinelli said. "So we've just got to keep going."
But while Culpepper has shown flashes of his old form, he has struggled at times, especially with turnovers. He has seven in four games — six interceptions, one fumble.
Culpepper shrugs off his limited time with the team and limited knowledge of the playbook.
"I don't look at it like it's an excuse for failure," Culpepper said. "I don't look at it that way because I'm going to do whatever I can in my power to go out and win.
"So I'm not going to say I should get any leeway for this or for that. It's not that way with me. It's all about getting ready to prepare and going out and winning."
As for the turnover issue, Culpepper said: "I'm cognizant of it. It's in the back of my mind. But I'm going out there not to play tight. I'm going to play loose and try to make plays and win."
When Orlovsky was the Lions' starting quarterback for four games earlier this season, he had only two turnovers — two interceptions. The Lions came closer to winning than they have all season. But Orlovsky still is not ready to return from a broken right thumb.
If Orlovsky was healthy enough to play Sunday against Minnesota, would Marinelli have a decision to make between Orlovsky and Daunte Culpepper?
"I don't have that decision," Marinelli said Thursday, "so nothing to think about."
So Culpepper is the starter regardless of injuries?
"Yeah," Marinelli said. "He's our starting quarterback."
For the rest of the season?
"I'm not going to ever say anything like that," Marinelli said. "He's our starting quarterback."