View Full Version : Scouts, Inc. article - Fix Culpepper and you fix the Vikes

10-13-2005, 02:14 AM
I didn't see this already posted, so here goes. Sorry if you saw this already.

Culpepper key to fixing Vikings

By Gary Horton
Scouts Inc.

If you were looking for giddy optimism for the most improved team in the NFL heading into the 2005 season, you would have looked no further than the Minnesota Vikings. Seemingly great free agent acquisitions, a solid draft and a strong returning nucleus of players created the aura of a Super Bowl contender.

After a 1-3 start and some ugly performances, this team appears on the outside looking in and its coaching staff is on the hot seat. Let's break down some of the problems and questions about this team.

The Mike Tice factor

A lot of people think the head coach has lost this team. He has had more than his share of public controversies over the last couple of years, but despite occasional missteps, he is still a players' coach. He played the game, he has an open door policy with his squad and although he's not always the slickest sound bite in the media, players know he's in the trenches with them. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and is probably too honest with the media. Reports out of players' meetings that he's ready to quit are greatly exaggerated -- the core group of this team will support him until the end.

The consultants factor

This move could get a little dicey. Even though it makes some sense, it gives the impression the Vikings are in panic mode. Tice has brought in longtime mentors Jerry Rhome on offense and Foge Fazio on defense. Both are good guys with a lot of experience, but it's hard to see them having a real positive impact on the season.

In fact, the move is more likely to give the impression that Tice doesn't believe in his coaching staff. Even more important, will Tice give more credence to Rhome's and Fazio's ideas because they are new?

The one positive is that Tice trusts these guys, and the consultants might be more of a benefit to him than the team. Both will be in the press box on game day, and both have open access to Tice.

The coaching staff factor

A coaching staff full of guys in the last year of their contracts, including the head coach, and new ownership who can pull the plug after the season, is a recipe for disaster.

The new consultants probably don't have a dramatic effect on the staff, except for offensive coordinator Steve Loney. Look for Loney to move from the upstairs coaching booth to the field on game day, with Rhome taking his place in the booth. The Vikings are not doing a good job of making offensive adjustments, especially on the line, but Loney's presence on the sidelines should help.

If the Vikings don't come out of this tailspin now, the assistant coaches could start spending a lot of time on the phone networking for their next jobs. It might not seem fair to the players and organization, but when your contract runs out at the end of the season, your first worry as an assistant coach is your family.

The Culpepper factor

There isn't one part of this football team's performance this is above reproach right now, but the real problem is at the quarterback position. The Daunte Culpepper we saw a year ago is a distant memory, replaced by a quarterback who is sloppy in his technique and fundamentals and is making rookie mistakes and decisions.

Why the regression? The Vikings won't admit it, but they really miss former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who left for Miami in the offseason. Linehan had Culpepper's respect and was a stickler for strong fundamentals and practice habits. He had the ability to reel Culpepper in when he got sloppy, and his film preparation was detailed.

Studying Culpepper now, he seems to follow one mistake with several more, almost as though he's trying too hard to make up for his original mistake. His apparent lack of confidence is causing him to hold on to the ball too long instead of anticipating his receivers' breaks. He's waiting until they get open and taking a lot of unnecessary hits as a result.

Obviously, Linehan is not coming back, but somebody needs to get Culpepper turned around. It could be quarterbacks coach Rich Olson, or it could be consultant Rhome. It could even be Tice.

Despite all their problems, this team has too many veteran players with high character to keep losing. In a mediocre NFC North, they are still poised for a run. The key is to fix Culpepper's problems, and if that happens, this team will win.


Makes sense to me. But, how do we fix Culpepper?

10-13-2005, 02:18 AM
we don't fix culpepper, he has to fix himself.

10-13-2005, 03:24 AM
"Lotzapurple119" wrote:

we don't fix culpepper, he has to fix himself.

It doesn't matter who fixes him, as long as he gets fixed!

10-13-2005, 04:44 PM
That analysis is dead on. But I would still much rather have a 6-4, 265-pound All-Pro QB in terms of talent, who just needs to brush up his technique, than some QB who can't do it.

I totally agree with that analysis re Culpepper. He is dead on with that.

Del Rio
10-13-2005, 04:48 PM
There is a shop down town that fixes QB's it's a bit pricey but they have a good warranty.

The Vikings will turn it around this weekend.

10-13-2005, 04:53 PM
I agree with the point that the single best thing the vikings can do to turn things around is getting Daunte to fire on all cylinders. He's shown time and time again that he can't fix himself, he needs someone to show him the way.

I don't know who that is, but hopefully it will happen. The Bears might be a good team to get things going, but it will probably take a lot of supporting help to get his confidence back. Or, just hit Troy deep on the opening drive and get that roll going early.

10-13-2005, 05:01 PM
"Del Rio" wrote:

There is a shop down town that fixes QB's it's a bit pricey but they have a good warranty.

The Vikings will turn it around this weekend.

AMEN Brother Del!!!

We will turn it around.
Hey I posted some pics in my gallery.
Even one of my wife!

10-13-2005, 05:26 PM
I think the best thing for Daunte right now is our defence. He needs to be on the field early and often. If he makes a mistake, the defence needs to get him back on the field right away, and not make him watch a long drive ending in points, stemming from that mistake. Just let him know that the D has his back - let him play loose and with confidence - and pick apart a good Bears D.

Here's Hopin'

10-13-2005, 08:22 PM
"tiersius" wrote:

I think the best thing for Daunte right now is our defence. He needs to be on the field early and often. If he makes a mistake, the defence needs to get him back on the field right away, and not make him watch a long drive ending in points, stemming from that mistake. Just let him know that the D has his back - let him play loose and with confidence - and pick apart a good Bears D.

Here's Hopin'
TiersiusI agree with you but that is a bit too much to ask from our defense right now. With all the injuries, we don't have the ability to stop a team that just got a fumble recovery on our own 20. It's sad but true. Daunte just needs to settle down, look around in the huddle, and have faith that all 10 players he sees are going to make the play. You can just tell from watching that he is thinking way too much. As a result, his football instincts are crappy right now.

The first thing I want to see is any type of internal clock. In all four games he has just sat in the pocket for 8 seconds until he gets sacked. MOVE Daunte! RUN! I know I'm not the only one who has been yelling that at the TV screen.

10-13-2005, 09:49 PM
Daunte right now has "Favre Syndrome" real, real bad. Favre Syndrome, I would define as: the idea that you have to carry the entire team, based on throws you make, and the idea that if you wait just long enough, a receiver will get open, and you will be able to hit him, based on your arm being so *superior*.

Culpepper has got to lose that, and fast. Instead of doing a bad impression of Brett and throwing like 4 INTs a game, Culpepper should learn to "manage" the game on an off-day, a-la Jeff Garcia or Griese or some relatively mediocre QB. The idea that Culpepper is a "superstar" and has to do it all is killing the team. Just get the 3-and-out if you can't get a TD. let the punter earn his pay. Just manage the damn game. [I actually didn't write "gol darnit" here. I wrote something pretty mild and the system overwrote what I wrote. Didn't know this site was run by puritans, by the way... :roll: ].

Then, when you have some level of comfort, start to throw downfield and start to try to be that superstar again.

10-13-2005, 10:03 PM
A veternarian can fix him.

10-13-2005, 10:04 PM
culpepper isnt broken. he is just in RM withdrawal. now with an extra week of practise with what he has now, no doubt he will be fine against the bears.

10-14-2005, 05:42 AM

10-14-2005, 06:28 AM
Interesting comparison to Favre, Still. I haven't been on as much lately because I've been waging daily wars with the Favre -haters among the Packer "fans". So, I have debated this one to death.

I'm not quite sure it is the same situation. To me, part of the problem with Favre's ills are partially because he puts the pressure on himself, but when the Packer defense splutters and the running game vanishes...the whole team just stops and watches Favre expectantly. Even the coaches look like they are standing on the sideline, hands at their side, as if to say, "Well, you're the future HOFer." And if he fails, guess who gets the blame.

I'm not sure Culpepper is in that role yet, though I will be the first to admit I'm not as familiar with his situation. My theory had always been if he got rid of Moss, the pressure would stop going on Daunte to be getting the ball to Moss. Pepper always seemed to get blamed whenever Moss didn't get enough passes. Daunte always seemed a little fragile, ego-wise.

Now, without Moss, I'm starting to think he's doubting himself. Now, instead of knowing it is "pass to Moss or die", its "lead the team on your own", and he's pressing himself way too hard to do so.

There's a lot of talent on the Vikes right now, probably more than the Packers. But, we played the Saints and Favre got cured real quick. Maybe the Bears will be Daunte's ticket.

I still think Culpepper has a fragile ego. A good coach would take steps to help take that pressure off of him so he is successful in what he does, whether it be simplifying the offense, calling more misdirection and screen plays, and letting the rest of the offense do more work.

But, with confidence, he's still the most intimidating QB in the league. Right now, though, he's not.

10-14-2005, 07:29 AM
you sure you're a packer fan, Los? :lol: j/k