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cybermuskie

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cybermuskie

Updated: March 21, 2006, 5:26 PM ET

Childress needs to let Culpepper go By Jeremy Green

Scouts Inc.

This offseason, the Vikings have an excellent new owner in Zygi Wilf, who has been busy making over the organization. First, he retained vice president Rob Brzezinski. Then, he hired a solid X's and O's head coach in Brad Childress, who is very detail-oriented. Finally, he brought in a young VP of personnel in Fran Foley, giving the Vikings a trio of executives who, for the first time in a long time, appear to have this franchise on the same page.

I say "appear" because the Vikings seemed confused in their handling of Daunte Culpepper's contract situation this offseason (Culpepper has since been traded to Miami). On one hand, we have Wilf being quoted as saying Culpepper never asked for more money. On the other hand, we have new coach Childress talking about Culpepper wanting to be "a $10 million-a-year quarterback." It seems the coach and owner were not on the same page on this one.

So why shouldn't we believe the hype now when talk centers around the Vikings being a potential playoff team in 2006? Aside from the fact they traded away a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, the biggest reason is that their new head coach is showing his inexperience and is coaching with training wheels on.

Childress might have the football knowledge to be a good head coaching candidate, but he must not have been taking notes during all those Andy Reid press conferences, because it doesn't appear he knows how to manage a football team.

Childress was Culpepper's coach for roughly two months. But Cardinals QB coach Mike Kruczek (Culpepper's coach at Central Florida), Cardinals head coach Dennis Green (who drafted Culpepper) and former Vikings coach Mike Tice, who spent a lot more time with Culpepper than Childress did, have never had anything negative to say about the player. On the contrary, they consistently have talked about how great he was on the field, in the locker room and as a person off the field.

Entering last season, Culpepper ranked third all-time in passer rating (93.2), trailing only Steve Young (96.8) and Kurt Warner (95.7). Over the first five seasons of his career, he had the second-highest completion percentage in NFL history, behind only Warner. In 2004, he set the record for most yards from scrimmage by a quarterback (5,123), breaking a 20-year old record set by Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

So what is the real story here? Do Childress and Culpepper have some past history that might have predicted that they wouldn't get along?

After the 2003 season, when Culpepper was named the NFC starter in the Pro Bowl, the Eagles' coaching staff, with Childress having moved up to offensive coordinator, led the NFC squad. After a season in which Culpepper had thrown for 3,479 yards, 25 TDs, had a passer rating of 96.4 and a 65 percent completion rate, he played exactly five minutes in the Pro Bowl game. The fact that a player chosen by the fans, players and coaches to represent the NFC played only three series and only one quarter goes against the entire spirit of the game. It's possible that the 2003 Pro Bowl was the start of the problems for Culpepper and Childress.

Sources close to the situation have said that Culpepper requested a playbook from Childress this offseason and never received one. What kind of message does that send?

Whatever their past history, it's clear there was a rift between Culpepper and Childress.

Now, Childress can't seem to bash him enough. Over the past week, Childress has basically assassinated Culpepper's character in the media. He talked about Culpepper's contract demands, about Culpepper being a "me" guy and even compared him to former Eagles WR Terrell Owens.

All of Childress' comments came after Culpepper had been traded, and the AP quoted Culpepper as saying, "I wish the best for the Viking organization as they go forward under the new ownership group and coaching staff." I would hate to have seen Childress' response had Culpepper blasted the organization.

I'm not a head coach. I've never coached a day in my life. But I have been around the NFL my entire life and have been around some great coaches. I've been to hundreds of press conferences, and I've seen how different coaches handle different situations. There is a certain way you deal with touchy situations, and Childress is about to learn that lesson the hard way.

Childress never has been a head coach, either, and he was not even the primary play-caller in Philadelphia. Taking cheap shots at a player who had been the face of the Vikings for six years doesn't strike me as something an experienced head coach would do. Childress easily could have echoed Culpepper's positive comments, saying something like, "Daunte was a great quarterback for the Vikings, but we have opted to go in another direction. We feel like we received excellent value for him, and we hope to take that second-round pick and get ourselves an excellent football player. We wish Daunte all the best in Miami."

Instead he took two opportunities to rip the former Pro Bowl and franchise Vikings QB.

If Childress' goal were to get off to a rocky start with his new players, then mission accomplished. Culpepper always has been well-respected by the players in Minnesota and throughout the NFL. I can't imagine the Vikings players don't see what's going on or that it doesn't affect them to see their new head coach tear down a player many of them respected.

Childress might turn out to be a great head coach, but he might want to remember that in the coaching profession, you don't comment on other teams' players, and Culpepper is no longer his player. It's time for the Vikings' first-time head coach to grow up, take off the training wheels and get on the high road. Childress needs to become a leader within his organization, something he appears to have lost sight of in the Culpepper saga.

Jeremy Green has been an NFL scout for 10 years. Most recently, he was director of pro personnel for the Cleveland Browns.

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DTro

I was always a pep guy (picked him every year for FF and wore his jersey quite often), but.....talk about a biased story.

It lists all the good things about him and stops.

How about his interceptions? Where does he rank all time in that category? What about the fact that he had a potentially career ending injury. What about the fact that he is appearing in Hennepin county court today?

Sorry, but I'll take a mediocre team of "good guys" before a championship team of gangster/thug/criminals ANY DAY.

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floating minnow

Now Daunte is a gangster/thug/criminal? confused.gif

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IFallsRon

"Sorry, but I'll take a mediocre team of "good guys" before a championship team of gangster/thug/criminals ANY DAY."

Culpepper, Tice, Green, McCoombs are old news.

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nofishfisherman

I believe mistakes were made by both sides during this ordeal. Maybe Childress came in here knowing he was getting rid of culpepper it wouldn't surpirse me. These things are never one sided, the media will protray it that way but I bet that Childress and the vikes made as many mistakes as Culpepper during their interactions.

Quote:

Culpepper, Tice, Green, McCoombs are old news.


Right on, can we move on now. Lets embrace the new guys and hope they can lead us to a Super Bowl.

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james_walleye

All i know is Childress seems too know EXACTLY what direction he thinks this team needs too go too win. It was very clear that Daunte wanted out of here. He ended up exactly where he wanted too be, right back home in FL. Childress said all Daunte talked about was being a 10 mill QB. He showed no interest in being up here rehabbing his knee and more importantly learning anything about the new offense. Yeah they didnt get fair trade value again but they are going in a certain direction that Dante didnt want too be a part of. What i like about everything so far is that Childress isnt messing around and Wilf is forking out the $$ too bring in exactly the players Childress wants in the system. He has a direction. The vikings havent even drafted yet but we already know more about the vikings identity for 2006 than we knew about them for the last 3 years. It just seems that the guy knows what direction needs too be taken, and what kind of players need too be added too get there. Its early, but you get the feeling this team will have a direction and a discipline this season. They havent had neither for a while.

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DTro

Quote:

Now Daunte is a gangster/thug/criminal?
confused.gif


I didn't specifically say that or him, but if you need examples it's not too hard.

Let's see.

Player is involved in a shooting and later found to be have a handgun that he uses for hunting grin.gif

Player is involved in running down a pedestrian and later drugs are discovered in the vehicle.

Player is involved in using a prosthetic device to get around the drug testing.

Player(s) are involved in fight at local nightclub.

Player(s) are involved in fight at local eating establishment/gas station.

Players are involved in cruise ship sex for hire.

Shall I continue?

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nofishfisherman

All those examples excluding the Love Boat don't have anything to do with Culpepper, the way you make it sound is that these are all reasons Culpepper is a gangster.

Who exactly are you talking about, I can't place all of these events with Vikings players.

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Bobby Bass

If you follow Viking football at all.... you can put names to the incidents. Kind of proves you are not talking from facts just a gut feeling which is just fine everyone has their owns thoughts on this. I think the best is what the Vikings are saying. We are moving on Culpepper is no longer a Vikings.

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milnortech

actually what I think hes trying to say is that the franchise was heading in the wrong direction and this is what was needed to turn it around.

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eyepatrol

I personally like the approach Childress and the Wilfs are taking. Basically what they're saying is, this is a team sport, and if you want to be a part of that team, you're my guy, if not, then we don't want or need you. They're working to get the "I" out of team (which there is no "I" in team, but players are making it that way). Childress wants guys that will be there for the team, guys that will have each other's backs. I think Childress also wants guys on the team to clean up their act...screw their head on straight. C-pep didn't seem to care much about the team recently, nor did Moss before he exited, so I'm just fine with those guys being gone, personally speaking.

Now that C-pep is gone, we should all look forward on what the Vikes will become this upcoming season. Hindsight is 20/20, what's done is done. Let's put the past behind us and hope for good things in the future.

Just my $0.02

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buzzsaw

Well said Basscatcher! I'm with you and with the Wilfs!

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DTro

Quote:

If you follow Viking football at all.... you can put names to the incidents. Kind of proves you are not talking from facts just a gut feeling which is just fine everyone has their owns thoughts on this. I think the best is what the Vikings are saying. We are moving on Culpepper is no longer a Vikings.


Right on....I'm done now cool.gif

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