Sports Outside the Beltway

Vikings Trade Culpepper to Dolphins

Vikings deal Culpepper to Dolphins AP 01:29 PM CST

The Minnesota Vikings traded disgruntled quarterback Daunte Culpepper to the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday. Vikings spokesman Tom West confirmed the deal, but did not give specifics. Several media reports say Minnesota received a 2007 second-round pick in return. The deal gives Culpepper the out he wanted from Minnesota, where he made the Pro Bowl three times in seven seasons. But his relationship with the organization had deteriorated swiftly in recent weeks, as Culpepper apparently felt unwanted.

Culpepper is coming off a subpar season before it ended Oct. 30, when he tore three ligaments in his knee during a game against Carolina.

The Dolphins clearly would have preferred to sign free agent Drew Brees but could not work out a deal, correctly being unwilling to give him a boatload of guaranteed money given the uncertainty after his recent injury. Culpepper has had a couple of down years but was an MVP candidate before that.

Update: Len Pasquarelli and John Clayton add more in a story timestamped 2:34 ET:

The Dolphins decided to stop waiting for Chargers quarterback Drew Brees to lower his contract demands and opted to give the Vikings a second-round choice to acquire quarterback Daunte Culpepper.


Miami coach Nick Saban revisited the trade talks with the Vikings on Monday, after Dolphins officials determined that the contract demands of Brees were more than they wanted to invest. The acquisition of Culpepper is contingent on him passing a Dolphins-administered physical exam.

Culpepper had been talking to the Dolphins for the past week, expressing his desire to be with the Dolphins along with showing a willingness to rework his contract to fit into the Dolphins salary cap. Contract talks between the Dolphins and Brees have been stalled because the Saints had more money and more guarantees on the table from the Saints.


Culpepper, 29, continues to rehabilitate his right knee and, while he is said to have made substantial progress in his recovery, the injury was a severe one. Culpepper tore three ligaments in the knee in an Oct. 30 game at Carolina and has been rehabilitating in the Orlando, Fla., area. First-year Vikings head coach Brad Childress would have preferred that Culpepper continue his rehabilitation at the team’s facility.

It was not immediately known if the Dolphins did any preliminary examination of Culpepper’s knee.

In addition, Culpepper still faces misdemeanor charges related to the so-called “Love Boat” scandal of last September, an incident allegedly involving some Vikings teammates. And, finally, Culpepper split during this offseason with longtime agent Mason Ashe, and has been representing himself. He may need to hire representation to help him deal with the Dolphins in any contract restructuring.

Both Culpepper and Brees are high risk, high reward signings. Culpepper, at least, understood that. For his resolve, Brees got a “six-year, $60 million deal” which “includes a $10 million signing bonus.” That’s the good news. The bad news is that he got it from the Saints.

I suspect that he’ll come to wish he’d taken a little less guaranteed money and signed with the Fish. Unless, of course, it turns out that he never returns to form after the injury.

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