I literally woke up this morning with the words "Culpepper" and "trade" drifting into my ears. My radio alarm clock went off just as MPR‘s Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer saying something about the Minnesota Vikings shopping Daunte Culpepper around.
Back when the rumors began to emerge that the Vikings were looking to trade Randy Moss, I refused to believe them. How, I reasoned, could you possibly get value for the guy? It turned out that I was wrong that the Vikes wouldn’t trade him but right that we wouldn’t get value. We didn’t. Not. At. All.
So, now with trade rumors swirling about Culpepper, I’m inclined to think the same thing: You can’t possibly get value for him. As I said in my Daunte Culpepper or Brad Johnson post, Culpepper’s coming off major surgery and a year, when he was healthy, in which he played horribly. Who’s gonna give you much of anything at all for a player who may not ever recover from his injury?
The Star Tribune’s Kevin Seifert legitimized the rumors by doing a piece on the rumors of a trade at ProFootballTalk.com. That story was posted at startribune.com at 9:56 this morning. At 2:33 p.m. today, Seifert posted a follow up article saying Culpepper was unaware of any such plans for a trade, saying "Until I hear different from Mr. Wilf or the new ‘triangle of authority’ at the Vikings I plan on playing quarterback for Minnesota."
In Seifert’s initial story, he says the decision to shop Culpepper was "triggered when Culpepper demanded that his 2006 compensation be more than doubled" and later in the article reported that "Wilf angrily turned down Culpepper’s request."
That’s justification enough for the Vikings to shop Culpepper and for Wilf to be angry. Culpepper’s got no leverage to ask for that kind of compensation, especially after Wilf just gave him a raise at the begining of Culpepper’s horrid season last year. And Culpepper’s behavior has all the hallmarks of a player trying to force a trade.
The ProFootballTalk.com site says the Vikings are looking for a second round pick for Culpepper. That seems mighty meagre for a player who, despite his injuries, would’ve been the league MVP in 2004 were it not for Peyton Manning.
If it’s true that that’s all the Vikings are asking for Culpepper, then I must conclude that the team is either not confident that the quarterback can recover from his injuries, or that the price tag for waiting for him to recover (and you gotta think the safe bet is 2007, not sometime next year) is too high. He’s due a $6 million bonus March 14, an $8 million salary for 2006, and he’ll probably be paid for sitting on the bench. That’s a completely unproductive $14 million.
Seifert says the Ravens could franchise Jamal Lewis and then trade him for Culpepper. If that happens, the Vikings, once again, will get screwed. Lewis is a smash mouth running back who won’t be well suited to Chidlress’ West Coast offense. An he’s an old 27 years old.
The Dolphins could let Gus Frerotte play another year and trade Ricky Williams to the Vikings for Culpepper. The Dolphins already have Ronnie Brown and will no doubt be looking to deal the enigmatic Williams. I’d be far happier with that scenario. Despite the guy’s obvious flakiness, it’s clear he’s an explosive running back.
The Raiders? Screw ’em. They’ve already taken us to the cleaners once this decade and that’s enough. Besides, they don’t have anyone on their roster we’d really want, anyway. Except for Randy Moss. I’d do that.
The Jets have got to be crazy if they’re content going into the season having to rely on the fragile Chad Pennington, whom they’re trying to get to take a pay cut. So they’re in the market for a quarterback but don’t you think they want one who they know will be able to play this year? They seem unlikely trade partners but let’s play along, anyway.
No one jumps out on the Jets roster as potential tade bait. Defensive End John Abraham, maybe, but he’s never really lived up to expectations. The only player on the Jets that I’d consider would be Middle Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a two year pro who, according to his draft profile, ran a 4.5 40 and has the skills to play cover in a zone defense. We need that cause Sam Cowart is not long for the Vikings roster and I’d hate to have to rely on E.J. Henderson as our starting Mike. Still, a straight up trade? No way. There’d have to be a draft pick or two in there.
The Rams’ new head coach is, of course, former Viking offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and Culpepper’s famously comfortable with the guy, so there’s presumably cozy feelings all around. The Rams actually have some players you could package together for a nice little deal. I’d take an Oralndo Pace and an Adam Timmerman–both aging linemen– and Safety Adam Archuleta for Culpepper. Or one of the linemen, Archuleta and a draft pick. That’d be fair.
I’m just afraid that if the Vikings do trade Culpepper, they won’t get anything for him. A second round pick? No way.