Sid Hartman: Moss' departure left void for Culpepper

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 18, 2007 - 12:07 AM

As Daunte Culpepper returns to the Metrodome today, you can't help but wonder what things would be like if he and Randy Moss were still together here.

The fact that Daunte Culpepper will start today for the Oakland Raiders at the Metrodome brought back memories of how high former Vikings coach Dennis Green was on the potential of the Central Florida quarterback before the 1999 draft.

It was late afternoon the day before the 1999 NFL draft, and Green was in his office going over possible first-round draft picks the Vikings would take.

"There are some quarterbacks available in the draft, and some good defensive players," Green said. "You know, we might just take that Daunte Culpepper, even though he played at Central Florida and some people don't have him rated that high. I like everything about him, but you never know what will happen once the draft starts."

Well, the next morning the Vikings did draft Culpepper 11th overall. He didn't see any meaningful action as a rookie, as Jeff George and Randall Cunningham ran the offense.

But the following year, Culpepper became the starting quarterback and the Vikings went 11-5, got the No. 2 seed in the NFC and went to the conference championship game.

The Vikings went 37-34, including 2-2 in the playoffs, between 2000 and '04 when Culpepper and Randy Moss played together.

After Moss was traded to Oakland in 2005, the Vikings started that year 2-5 before Culpepper got hurt at Carolina, ending his season and eventually his career in a Vikings uniform.

Well, I always contended -- and several Vikings coaches agreed with me -- that during that 2000-04 period, it was Moss and his great ability as a wide receiver that made Culpepper as successful as he was.

Dean Dalton, the Vikings running back coach under Mike Tice, said: "After [Culpepper] got hurt, he was done. ... Daunte had no shot once he had the knee injury. Prior to that injury he wasn't playing the best football of his career, but the year before he was pretty good.

"Without Moss, the whole offense took a hit because Randy's such a deep threat. Our style of offense was a power-run game and a vertical passing game, and Randy was the best vertical receiver in the game, as he's proving this year in New England."

Yes, the Vikings have continued to have quarterback and wide receiver problems since the Culpepper-Moss era ended.

You wonder what would have happened had Moss not been traded to the Raiders in 2005, what would have happened if Moss and Culpepper were still wearing the Vikings purple today.

Made offer to Santana

The word in baseball circles is that the Twins have made a five-year offer to two-time Cy Young Ward winner Johan Santana calling for $93 million.

Santana will be in the final year of his four-year, $40 million contract in 2008.

It's doubtful that Santana will accept this offer, but at least it's a start in an attempt to lock up the pitcher many consider to be the best in baseball.

Meanwhile, there isn't any doubt that the Twins are waiting for free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter to get some offers, and if Hunter wants to return here as he claims, he will give the Twins a chance to match.

Twins closer Joe Nathan will become a free agent at the end of the 2008 season. The Yankees didn't make it any easier for the Twins to re-sign Nathan when they offered Mariano Rivera a three-year contract calling for $45 million. The Twins recently exercised a $6 million option on Nathan for next year.

Gambled on system

Normally a coach in any sport comes up with a system that fits the players he has at hand.

Well, in the case of Tim Brewster, he didn't like the system under previous Gophers coach Glen Mason and decided to put in an offense and defense that could result in a losing season this year but might pay off in the future once players got acclimated to it.

For instance, senior Justin Valentine, an outstanding fullback under Mason, rarely saw action this season until the Illinois game, and he proved very valuable in the final games of the season, even though the Gophers always came up short.

Well the Gophers showed some improvement at the end of the year, even though they still lost close games to Iowa and Wisconsin, with Saturday's score 41-34 in favor of the Badgers.

Now the big question is if the combination of a good recruiting class for 2008 along with the experience of returning players will result in a winning season next year. Brewster insists that will happen.

Offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar, who put in the spread offense, agrees with Brewster and predicts quarterback Adam Weber and wide receiver Eric Decker, among others, will turn out to be great players in this system and will help make the Gophers winners in the future.

"Obviously, [Weber] has improved as our team has, and we've made some improvements here late in the season and Adam ... has a great upside to him. So, we're looking forward to the future," Dunbar said. "I think the kids are all getting better, they're all learning. Obviously it's a new system, a new scheme. I'm very committed to the spread, and that's the road that we're going to take."

Jottings

Freshman David Gilreath, who played high school football at Armstrong, had a big day for the Badgers on Saturday at the Metrodome, with two punt returns of 107 yards and six kickoffs for 119 yards. He originally committed to the Gophers and looked like a solid commitment for a long time. But he changed his mind, went to Wisconsin and he was one of the big reasons the Badgers won Saturday.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who took over a football program at Madison that was a lot worse than what Brewster inherited and made the Badgers into a powerhouse, said he doesn't have interest in the Nebraska coaching job as has been rumored.

The Gophers football schedule for 2008 is now complete with the opening opponent to be Northern Illinois, a team that fell to 2-9 this year after losing at Navy 35-24 on Saturday. The Huskies still have a game left against Ball State.

Only 20 players on the Vikings were here in 2005, the last year Culpepper was here. ... Speaking of Moss, he has 12 touchdown receptions and is threatening to break Jerry Rice's record of 22 TD catches in a season.

Kevin Garnett has turned down an invitation to be a member of the 2008 Olympic men's basketball team.

Willie Mobley, a highly regarded star defensive lineman for Eden Prairie, was among the Gophers football visitors at Saturday's game. Mobley hasn't committed to any school. Also on hand were verbal commitments Sam Maresh, a Champlin Park linebacker, and Vincent Hill, a wide receiver for Milford Academy Prep School in New Berlin, N.Y. Other guests of the Gophers from out of state included wide receiver Xzavian Brandon of Atlanta Northview, defensive back Tramaine Brock and defensive end Cedric McKinley of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, running back Maurice Greer of Garden City Community College and receiver Broderick Smith of Garden City High School and defensive tackle Joe Marshall of Clearwater, Fla.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close