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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings have to make audible on QB situation

    [size=18px]Vikings have to make audible on QB situation [/size]

    The team might have to make a decision next year before knowing for sure whether Daunte Culpepper will be ready to play in 2006.

    Star Tribune
    Insider Kevin Seifert
    Last update: November 4, 2005 at 4:50 PM

    An understandable level of shock reverberated this week through Winter Park, where another piece of the track broke off in traumatic fashion. The ghastly diagnosis of quarterback Daunte Culpepper's right knee injury, combined with another blowout loss on the road, left team employees either morose or simply in a daze as they grew resigned to a wholly unsatisfying season.

    Yet whenever that fog lifts, the organization will have an important and unexpected decision to make. In short: Can they count on Culpepper to be their quarterback in 2006? Or must they draw up a substantial contingency plan -- by signing, drafting or trading for a starting-quality quarterback -- during the offseason?

    Athletic trainer Chuck Barta said he expects Culpepper will be ready to participate in training camp next summer. Barta, however, acknowledged that no definitive timetable can be established until doctors perform surgery, an event that might not happen for another two weeks.

    Returning for training camp after mid-November surgery would leave 8½ months for recovery. For injuries as severe as Culpepper's -- he tore three of the four ligaments in his right knee -- rehabilitation generally is accepted as a 12-18 month process, similar to the one followed by Buffalo running back Willis McGahee from January 2003 to July 2004.

    Even taking into account Culpepper's history as a quick healer and a tireless worker, the Vikings will have to make a decision on 2006 before they know whether he will be ready for training camp. Thus the quandary: What should they do in March, which is their best opportunity to acquire a starter, when Culpepper is only a third of the way through the most optimistic of timetables?

    Coach Mike Tice this week expressed full confidence in Culpepper's ability to beat the odds, and Rob Brzezinski, vice president of football operations, said the discussion would not begin until after the season. Of course, there is no guarantee that either man will be making the call; their contracts both expire after the season and owner Zygi Wilf has not indicated whether either will return.

    The Vikings' decision-makers, whoever they are, will have time and options on their side. And because the injury is not considered career-threatening, there is every reason to believe Culpepper can resume his role no later than the 2007 season. By one way of thinking, the Vikings could go in four different directions.

    • Depending upon his performance for the rest of this season, they could name backup Brad Johnson their starter until whatever point Culpepper returns. This route would force the least tumult and minimal impact on their long-term financial plan. Johnson, 37, could be an ideal stopgap measure as long as his body holds up. When Culpepper returns, Johnson could finish out his career as the backup.

    • They could sign a veteran free agent to compete with Johnson if Culpepper's not ready for Opening Day. Any player willing to accept those terms -- a Kurt Warner, for example -- is going to have some deficiencies of his own. Unless Johnson suddenly proves washed up this season, he will be as good as most anyone available on the free-agent market.

    • Monitoring the situation in San Diego also would be wise. Starter Drew Brees is working on a one-year contract as the team's franchise player, while backup Philip Rivers -- the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 draft -- is sitting on the bench. The Chargers could keep both players in 2006, but there have been rumblings that Rivers wants to start or be traded.

    If Rivers is promoted, Brees would be the most highly sought quarterback on the market. If not, Rivers could be available -- albeit for a steep price, one that might be too high for a team with a Pro Bowl quarterback in rehabilitation, not a nursing home.

    • And then there is the Armageddon scenario: Draft a franchise quarterback. Based on their current play, the Vikings could be on the way to a top-5 position in the 2006 draft -- putting them in reach of 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart of Southern California. Would they dare it?

    If Wilf hires a new coach and/or general manager for next season, will that leadership have the patience or security to count on a quarterback returning from so serious an injury? Would the decision-makers want their first major call to backfire if Culpepper suffers a setback or simply isn't ready for the season?

    Or would they prefer to anoint a trusted veteran, draft someone such as Leinart and build a program with their own signature?

    Those who know Culpepper well are convinced he will return quicker than expected. A new group of decision-makers might not know him, however. Yes, it is hard to imagine the future without Daunte Culpepper. But in a win-now business, can the Vikings afford to be wrong?

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    umaguma1979's Avatar
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    Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    This year......I can't recall to many times Pep called an audible (if any)....will the coaching staff trust Johnson to audible?

    Thoughts?

  3. #3
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    I'm sure they do. Johnson has been around long enough to do that well.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
    GreenBaySlackers's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    i remember last year when the jags wouldnt let whoever leftwiches backup was audibal, and the D really exploited that.


    And if it isnt somesort of audible, whats that mesh thing Daunte is always doing with his hands inbetween plays?

  5. #5
    PurplePeopleEaters's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    Yeah.. Daunte Audibles a lot from what I have noticed.. It's just that the audibles don't help. I would expect since Brad has been around longer, he will be better at reading defenses and will therefore be better at calling audibles.

  6. #6
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    "GreenBaySlackers" wrote:
    i remember last year when the jags wouldnt let whoever leftwiches backup was audibal, and the D really exploited that.


    And if it isnt somesort of audible, whats that mesh thing Daunte is always doing with his hands inbetween plays?
    Im pretty sure thats the sign for a huddle...

  7. #7
    pepper 0n moss is offline Pro-Bowler
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    I'm pretty sure that mesh thing you guys speak of is some sort of no huddle signal, or maybe a signal run a hurry up type of offense. I've seen other QB's use it during the 2 minute drill, not just Daunte.

  8. #8
    GreenBaySlackers's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    "jessejames09" wrote:
    "GreenBaySlackers" wrote:
    i remember last year when the jags wouldnt let whoever leftwiches backup was audibal, and the D really exploited that.


    And if it isnt somesort of audible, whats that mesh thing Daunte is always doing with his hands inbetween plays?
    Im pretty sure thats the sign for a huddle...
    why would you need a signal for that? :???:

  9. #9
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Johnson's ability to audible will make a difference

    "GreenBaySlackers" wrote:
    i remember last year when the jags wouldnt let whoever leftwiches backup was audibal, and the D really exploited that.


    And if it isnt somesort of audible, whats that mesh thing Daunte is always doing with his hands inbetween plays?
    I always thought it was something he does to keep his fingers limber. Some sort of excercise. As often as he does it, I'm sure it has nothing to do with an audible, which is done at the line anyway, or a signal for a quick huddle.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  10. #10
    umaguma1979's Avatar
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    Re: Vikings have to make audible on QB situation

    Its the sign for solitatiarting auding "guests" on the cruise - lol. daunte only started audibling last year and largely because Linehan always called two plays down from the same formation.

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