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Chat Reel: Daunte Culpepper

'I'm very confident in my ability.'

Posted: Saturday April 15, 2000 05:50 PM

CNNSI Host: Welcome to today's chat with Minnesota Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper. Thanks for joining us today.

From Guest: Is it hard to believe it's already been a year since the day you were drafted?
Daunte Culpepper: In a way it is... actually, I'm glad that I've got a year under my belt. It's been long, but it's been good to me.

From Jake Phillips: You are often considered another Steve McNair, you are from a small school and you are built like him. What do you think it would take for the Vikings to make a run at the Super Bowl? They have the offense, and a pretty steady defense. What is missing? Is it the chemistry?
Daunte Culpepper: Actually, I don't think anything is missing. The chemistry will be there this year. Any team that goes to the Super Bowl has to have good players -- which we have -- and some luck. Our expectations are to get to the highest point, which is the Super Bowl, and to win it.

From Guest: Were you hurt when Dennis Green tried to bring in Dan Marino instead of sitting tight with you as his starter?
Daunte Culpepper: No, I wasn't hurt at all. I have full confidence in Coach Green... he's been successful year in and year out and he knows what it takes to get the job done. I would have loved to work with Dan Marino, he's a Hall of Famer, let's face it. On the other hand, we have Bubby Brister, who has some great seasons as well. He's a great guy and I think we're going to work well together.

From Guest: Daunte, as a UCF alum, I'm curious as to your thoughts of WR Charles Lee of UCF. What are his strenghts, weaknesses and where do you see him getting drafted, if at all? Good luck as the Vikes starter this year.
Daunte Culpepper: Thanks! Charles Lee is a really, really good receiver. He came on strong my senior year. He's a taller guy, about 6'2", 200-210. Great size, real good speed. He's definitely going to be a draft pick, between the 2nd and 4th round, I think. I just got off the phone with him not long ago. He'll do a good job and can make the big play when it needs to be made. He'll do a great job when he reaches the next level.

From Dave Cotton: Will you be participating in Cris Carter's offseason workout program?
Daunte Culpepper: Actually, right now, no. I'm in Minneapolis training every day. They're down in Florida. I may go down for the second section, but for right now, I'm up here in Minneapolis.

From Guest: Is the offensive line good enough to protect you now that Christy and McDaniel are gone?
Daunte Culpepper: I think we're real good on the line. We've got Corbin LeFina and Matt Burke who will step up. They have the ability to get the job done. They'll step in and hold their positions down pretty good.

From Guest: What is it like to work with Randy Moss and the other great receivers?
Daunte Culpepper: Actually, it's a dream come true. We've got guys who can make plays any time in the game and can take it the distance. It's a quarterback's dream... guys who can take a 5-yard route and take it 80 yards. It's a dream come true to play with guys of the caliber.

From Jay Shelton: Daunte: What kind of added dimension do you bring to the explosive Viking offense? Is it your ability to run? What kind of offensive scheme changes do you see happening to maximize what you bring into the offense this year?
Daunte Culpepper: I think we're going to do a lot of the same things we did last year. Another dimension I'll bring is the ability to run the ball. That keeps the linebackers honest and the defensive linemen, because they don't want to chase the QB through the game. That way, they can't double- and triple-cover the receivers.

From Guest: With Keyshawn Johnson now on the Bucs, how do you think the Vikes will fair in the NFC?
Daunte Culpepper: We're going to go out full-force, just like we would if he wasn't in the NFC. He's going to help them out a lot and get us fired up. Our mindset hasn't changed at all. We're still going to go out and try to win the maximum number of games we can.

From Guest: Daunte, I have been a Vikings fan for quite a long time ever since I was about 5 or 6 when I grew up in Minnesota. Will the cold winters and small market of Minnesota cause a high profile athlete like yourself to seek greener pastures like that of Stephon Maurbary of the New Jersey Nets?
Daunte Culpepper: No, I don't worry about that. I feel that I'm blessed and I'm just happy to be part of this league and this team. Everything's going to work itself out, even though it's freezing here right now. It's 35 degrees, but I'm from Florida and that's totally freezing for me. It's a great football program, and I'm going to make the best of the situation I'm in, because it's really not a bad situation and I love the game of football.

From Sir Francis: How come you didn't play in NFL Europe?
Daunte Culpepper: Well, I wasn't asked to.

From Adam Wendell: Daunte, I read that you were a big fan of Randall Cunningham as a kid growing up. How do you feel about his refusal to take a pay cut and eminent release from the team on June 1st? Were you able to learn anything from him during the year that you played together? Good luck next year!!
Daunte Culpepper: Thank you. Randall is a very, very knowledgeable guy. He's been in the league a long time and knows the ins-and-outs. He set me aside last year and told me some things. As far as his contract, I have nothing to say about it. That's his personal business and he's going to do what's best for him in that situation.

From Guest: How will the losses of Christy and McDaniel affect your protection next year?
Daunte Culpepper: Hopefully it won't affect us at all. Everybody is looking at this year as a rebuilding year, but we're looking at it as a realoading year. We're going to load everybody up and fire away again.

From Shawn Mehlhoff: With all the turmoil that has surrounded the quarterback position in Minnesota this off-season, are you confident in your abilities to assume the postion of leadership on and off the field, even with the number of highly vocal veterans on the team?
Daunte Culpepper: I'm very confident in my ability. I've never doubted myself and I don't think I ever will. I'm a competitor and I need to be confident in myself. With all the veterans, that's going to push me to be that much better. Those guys will push me to be the best player I can be.

From Raufsa Mahammed: Congratulations on winning the starting job for the Minnesota Vikings this season. Can you comment on the fans in Minnesota and the noise in the Metrodome? Is it the loudest stadium you have played in?
Daunte Culpepper: It's one of the loudest, if not THE loudest. There's a tremendous amount of excitement... people up here love football, and I'm just happy to be a part of it, hopefully for years to come. Hopefully we can make all the fans happy.

From Guest: Daunte, what is the hardest thing for you to do to prepare for this upcoming season?
Daunte Culpepper: I don't look at it like that. I was going to prepare to be the starter even before I knew I would be. I'm paying my dues right now so that hopefully things'll come a little easier for me.

From Guest: Daunte, there have been published reports, that current and former Viking players say they doubted your skills and confidence. Do you believe that is true or do you feel that is media generated garbage?
Daunte Culpepper: A lot of stuff I hear in the media, I don't listen to for one reason or another. I don't know why anybody would say that I don't have the confidence to get the job done. If guys formerly on the team don't believe I have the confidence, I've got to prove them wrong. A lot of people still haven't gotten to see me really play, and I've got to prove to everyone that I've got what it takes to lead the team.

From Guest: Daunte, What players are the Vikings looking at in todays draft?
Daunte Culpepper: Actually, I couldn't really tell you. There was a DT that they were looking at, but I don't know any of the discussions that are going on because I haven't been in the war room.

CNNSI Host: That's all the time we have today to chat with Daunte. Thanks for spending some time with us.
Daunte Culpepper: Thanks very much.

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