. . .but to praise him. You know, because this time in the season is still dead as a doornail.
Pro Football Reference has put together a pretty brilliant little piece on the Vikings' former signal caller. It takes a look back at Daunte's 2004 season, and in the process pretty much destroys the "Randy Moss made Daunte Culpepper look good" theory that so many people with lesser intelligence seem to cling to so fervently.
A couple of passages:
Nate Burleson made at least $7 million last year. It might have been more. But, based on $7 million, he made roughly $500K per reception and roughly $7 million per receiving touchdown. I'm sure there are some people that are of the theory that he got that contract from the Seahawks based on the blistering 30 catches for 328 yards and 1 TD he got in 2005 with Brad Johnson rather than the 68 catches for 1,006 yards and 9 TD he got with Daunte Culpepper in 2004.
I, on the other hand, am of the mind that Nate Burleson should be sending Daunte Culpepper a Christmas card every year until one of them shuffles off this mortal coil. "Daunte Culpepper made Nate Burleson" is a far more solid argument than "Randy Moss made Daunte Culpepper."
How would you describe the `04 Vikings? Their top WR (Nate Burleson) should be out of the league soon, their second WR is a Hall of Fame talent who was hurt for a good chunk of the season, the supporting cast of receivers and tight ends was largely retreads, the running backs were mediocre but with good hands, the defense stunk and the coaching wasn't any good. That hardly sounds like a recipe for excellence.
We know no QB has ever done as much (5123) as Culpepper did in one year. But has any QB ever done as much...with as little?
I'd be quite willing to say "no" to that last question. They make the contrast to the 2000 Rams. Let's compare what Kurt Warner had to work with that season compared to what Daunte Culpepper had to work with in '04, shall we?
Rams: Marshall Faulk - Only one of the greatest RBs ever.
Vikings: 4 different backs. . .Onterrio Smith (the team's leading rusher), Mewelde Moore, Moe Williams, and Michael Bennett. By the way, Onterrio Smith was last seen getting cut from the Canadian Football League.
Advantage: Rams. As the old saying goes, "If you've got four running backs, you haven't got any."
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Rams - Isaac Bruce (Hall of Famer), Torry Holt (Hall of Famer), Az Hakim, Ricky Proehl
Vikings - Nate Burleson, Randy Moss (half a season's worth or so), Marcus Robinson, Kelly Campbell, Jermaine Wiggins
Advantage: Rams. And it's not close.
Rams: Dick Vermeil (head coach) and Mike Martz (offensive coordinator)
Vikings: Mike Tice (head coach) and Scott Linehan (offensive coordinator)
Advantage: Rams. While the gap between Martz and Linehan isn't as wide as some might think (in my opinion), Evil Knievel would have a hard time clearing the chasm between Tice and Vermeil.
It makes seeing the whole situation that Daunte is in now that much sadder. If he can ever get back to 100%, I think he can get back to what he used to be. I realize I'm one of about 5 people on the planet with this opinion, but I'll stick to it. The guy had 4 bad games in 2005, and everyone wants to write off the rest of his career because of it. Horse crap, I say.