Brad Childress and Daunte Culpepper talked for 45 minutes by phone, but not much was determined about the quarterback's future.
It took Brad Childress 49 years to get an NFL head coaching job and only a week to track down his presumptive starting quarterback. The Vikings coach finally got quarterback Daunte Culpepper on the phone Friday morning for a 45-minute conversation in lieu of their planned face-to-face meeting.
Childress described the talk in neutral terms, saying "I probably wouldn't characterize it as good or bad," and acknowledged he does not know if Culpepper will be ready to open the season as the Vikings' starting quarterback. Childress, however, made clear he expects Culpepper to participate in the Vikings' offseason conditioning program -- Culpepper typically has trained near his home in Orlando, Fla. -- and said "it's hard to know [Culpepper's future] without a crystal ball."
Culpepper has been rehabilitating his right knee near his home in Orlando but was in the Twin Cities this week in part to meet with Childress. Some members of the organization have had difficulty contacting Culpepper since he suffered three torn ligaments in the knee Oct. 30, and Childress apparently settled for a phone conversation Friday morning.
Culpepper has declined numerous interview requests from the Star Tribune.
Rehabilitation for injuries like Culpepper's typically has taken 12 to 18 months, but the Vikings have said they hope he will be ready for training camp in July. Childress, in fact, said Friday that Culpepper "has a chance of being capable of maybe doing some footwork" drills during spring minicamps.
But Culpepper will sit out all football-related activities as the Vikings convert to a West Coast offense, meaning he will need extensive practice time this summer in order to grow comfortable with the system.
"There are some things that you're going to want to see him do over and over and over again," Childress said. "You can look at tape and see how he's played, the very good years that he's had, but it's so hard until you see him in person doing your stuff. ... You've got to be able to see it here. He's going to be here. It'll be interesting to see how he looks doing this stuff."
Asked if he believed it is realistic that Culpepper will be ready to start the season, Childress said: "Usually elite-caliber athletes have the ability to innovate and adjust. There's a certain amount of athleticism that has to go into it, and obviously a certain amount of knowledge now."
The coaching staff grew to 10 members Friday after Childress hired former St. Louis assistant Matt Sheldon as a defensive assistant and Kevin Stefanski as an assistant to the head coach. Sheldon played defensive back for the Gophers from 1987 to 1991, while Stefanski was an intern for Philadelphia last season.
In other coaching news:
Childress spoke Friday with strength and conditioning coach Kurtis Shultz but apparently has other candidates to interview.
Childress said he has targeted a potential special teams coach but hinted the candidate is on the staff of a playoff team, meaning he is not available for interviews.
If all goes according to plan, Childress hopes to have an assistant head coach on his staff.
UCLA assistant Eric Bieniemy, who interviewed for the running backs job this week, remains a candidate for the job, Childress said.
LSU gave the Vikings permission to interview assistant coach Karl Dunbar, likely for their defensive line position, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Dunbar coached Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams at Oklahoma State.
In addition to Culpepper, Childress has spoken with receiver Koren Robinson, tight end Jermaine Wiggins, nose tackle Pat Williams and safety Darren Sharper.
|NY Mets - LP: J. Hefner||2||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: S. Feldman||8|
|Seattle - LP: O. Perez||4||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Perez||5|
|Toronto - LP: B. Morrow||2||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps||7|
|Cincinnati - WP: B. Arroyo||10||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick||0|
|Chicago WSox - LP: N. Jones||9||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: R. Coello||12|
|Tampa Bay - WP: A. Torres||10||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: J. Johnson||6|
|Houston - WP: J. Cisnero||4||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - LP: B. Morris||2|
|Los Angeles - LP: K. Jansen||1||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: C. Gearrin||3|
|Boston - WP: C. Breslow||12||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: S. Diamond||5|
|Arizona - WP: B. McCarthy||1||FINAL|
|Miami - LP: T. Koehler||0|
|Milwaukee - WP: J. Axford||6||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly||4|
|Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez||2||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: J. Grimm||7|
|San Francisco - LP: T. Lincecum||2||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: T. Chatwood||10|
|Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann||1||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: E. Stults||2|
|Kansas City - LP: E. Santana||1||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: T. Milone||2|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon|