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Culpepper trade sought

  • Article by: Kevin Seifert
  • Star Tribune
  • February 16, 2006 - 8:56 AM

The Vikings are gauging quarterback Daunte Culpepper's trade value around the NFL, a person with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday -- confirming a decision triggered when Culpepper demanded that his 2006 compensation be more than doubled.

A well-connected website, www.profootballtalk.com, reported the Vikings are seeking a second-round draft pick for Culpepper, but that asking price could not be confirmed. A trade for so little compensation would conclude a stunning fall for Culpepper, 29, who put up MVP-caliber numbers as recently as 2004.

Baltimore, Miami, Oakland and the New York Jets are among those teams who are expected to pursue quarterbacks this offseason.

The Baltimore Sun reported the Ravens might be interested in placing their franchise tag on running back Jamal Lewis and then trading him for Culpepper.

Regardless, the Vikings now seem willing to jettison their franchise quarterback -- and conceivably install Brad Johnson as their starter -- following a six-week period in which Culpepper has attempted three times to seek an upgrade to his contract.

The last attempt occurred during a Jan. 31 meeting at Winter Park, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

Culpepper, who fired agent Mason Ashe last month, represented himself during a gathering that also included owner Zygi Wilf, other members of his ownership group, coach Brad Childress and Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski. Culpepper, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, asked that approximately $10 million be added to his contract this season -- increasing his total 2006 compensation to a staggering $18 million.

Wilf angrily turned down Culpepper's request, and it is believed that no substantive communication has taken place since. The disagreement is the largest impetus for soliciting trade offers, but Culpepper might also be seeking a fresh start after suffering a major injury to his right knee and being charged with three misdemeanors in connection with an alleged Oct. 6 sex party on Lake Minnetonka.

Culpepper, due a $6 million bonus on March 14, faces the task of learning Childress' west-coast offense while being unable to practice until summer at the earliest. A team taking Culpepper would have to view him as a starter for 2007 and consider playing time in 2006 a bonus.

Culpepper's contract, which Wilf upgraded last summer, calls for him to make $8 million during the 2006 league year. Culpepper contends the Vikings promised last summer to address his contract further after the 2005 season; the team has denied that claim.

Culpepper did not respond to an interview request, and team spokesman Bob Hagan said no team official would be available to discuss Culpepper's situation.

News surfaced at this time last year that the Vikings were shopping receiver Randy Moss, who ultimately was sent to Oakland for linebacker Napoleon Harris and two draft choices. No trade involving Culpepper could be finalized before March 3.

Vikings notes

• Vikings running back Mewelde Moore had surgery to repair the sprained right wrist that troubled him for much of the 2005 season. The surgery prevented Moore from participating in the snowmobiling portion of last weekend's Arctic Blast.

• The Vikings signed fullback Joey Goodspeed, who was out of football in 2005 after playing for the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and the St. Louis Rams in 2003-04. The Vikings did not use a fullback in the offense of former coach Mike Tice, but Childress' West Coast style requires one.

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