Culpepper E-Mails Media on Status
Byline: David Elfin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Daunte Culpepper took the unusual step of e-mailing selected Minnesota and national media members Thursday to tell the them the Vikings have promised he won't be traded. He also said he is willing to adjust his contract to give the team some cap relief. But Culpepper didn't say anything about promises from the Vikings that he would not be released.
A season ago, Culpepper was as secure as any starting quarterback with two playoff victories could be. Culpepper had just posted the fourth-best quarterback rating (110.9) for a season in NFL history, throwing 39 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and leading the Minnesota Vikings to their first playoff victory in four seasons.
Now Culpepper could soon be released. Culpepper had just six touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season before blowing out all three ligaments in his right knee in the season's seventh game. He was also one of four Vikings charged in the "Love Boat" sex scandal.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has said he plans to pay the $6 million bonus that Culpepper is due on March 14, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Culpepper asked for a raise from a hefty $10 million to a whopping $18 million, a prospect Wilf angrily rejected.
Since Culpepper signed a 10-year, $102 million contract in 2003, 18 players around the league have inked bigger deals, one reason he recently fired his agent.
New coach Brad Childress, who's not tied to Culpepper like former coach Mike Tice, has termed Culpepper "the franchise quarterback."
However, Wilf said that he expects Culpepper, 29, and Johnson, 37, to battle it out in training camp. Johnson is a better fit for Childress' West Coast offense than the deep-passing Culpepper, who has been rehabbing in Florida and whose knee might not be ready come August.
Considering all of that, Wilf and Childress have an interesting decision to make on March 14.
Law on move (again) - Although he was a Pro Bowl selection last season and the New York Jets hired his former New England position coach, Eric Mangini, as its new coach, cornerback Ty Law's tenure with the Jets is over after just one season.
Law, who had a career-high 10 interceptions last season, was due an $11 million bonus next month and that didn't make sense for the Jets, who were further over the salary cap than any other team before beginning cuts Wednesday. …