Former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper, whose NFL career completely flamed out after suffering a catastrophic knee injury in 2005, has apparently decided that he's not playing football any longer.
"As far as me playing, I think I am done,'' said Culpepper, 35. "That part of my book is closed. The next chapter is, I have kids and I will be coaching them.
"I will be part of athletics and a part of sports, hopefully my whole life. It makes me feel good. I love to compete. Now I'll be competing in men's leagues, in basketball and softball and stuff.''
It really is too bad that Culpepper never regained the form he had prior to getting his knee shredded against the Carolina Panthers in October of 2005. For my money, he was the best Minnesota Vikings quarterback of my lifetime (and the best quarterback this franchise has had not named Fran Tarkenton), and had been voted runner-up for the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award the previous season.
That season, Culpepper set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage, and had 39 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions. . .and, because the Vikings' defense was so awful (26th in the NFL in points allowed), the team backed into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Granted, they did humiliate Green Bay that year (thanks largely to Culpepper's four touchdown passes), but eventually lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round.
Then, Culpepper's knee injury happened, Mike Tice (who was probably Culpepper's biggest supporter) got fired, things got weird with Brad Childress, and Culpepper was eventually traded to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round draft choice. He attempted to come back from his knee injury too quickly, and was never quite the same quarterback again. After a season in Miami, he played a year for the Oakland Raiders (during which he came back to the Metrodome and threw for 344 yards, the only 300-yard game of his post-Vikings career, in a 29-22 Vikings victory over the Raiders), and two years for the Detroit Lions. He last played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL in 2010 under the man who drafted him, Dennis Green.
I enjoyed the hell out of watching Daunte Culpepper play for the Minnesota Vikings. Hopefully he will be successful in his non-football endeavors from here on out.