PDA

View Full Version : Injury changes Vikings’ offense



singersp
11-19-2005, 03:12 AM
Posted Nov. 18, 2005

Injury changes Vikings’ offense

By Pete Dougherty
PackersNews.com

When quarterback Daunte Culpepper blew out three knee ligaments on Oct. 30, he changed the course of the Minnesota Vikings’ season.

But as the Vikings’ players and coaches focus on playing the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, a big-picture question looms for all of their NFC North Division rivals as well as new ownership that plans on hiring a true general manager in the offseason: how will the devastating knee injury to the franchise’s most important player affect the Vikings’ longer-term future?

Culpepper didn’t suffer the mother of all knee blowouts — he tore his anterior-cruciate, medial-collateral and posterior-collateral ligaments, but didn’t damage his patellar tendon or lateral collateral ligaments. Nevertheless, the injury is far more serious and threatening to his football future than if he’d torn only his ACL, a serious injury which itself requires knee reconstruction.

No other details of Culpepper’s injury have been made public, so it’s unclear how much cartilage damage he sustained, though it’s a given there’s at least some.

That makes it difficult for outside observers to know exactly what roadblocks he faces in returning to elite status as an NFL quarterback.

But the 28-year-old Culpepper has become a two-time Pro Bowler in part because he’s a tremendous runner breaking the pocket, and it’s almost a given he’ll return to the NFL a less mobile quarterback. There’s also the chance the injury could shorten his career, which has to worry the Vikings because quality quarterbacks are so difficult to find.

“Despite the fact that he’ll have every opportunity available to him with the best therapy and the best doctors and the best rehab,� said Dr. Andrew Chen, an orthopedic surgeon with the U.S. Ski Team who also has worked with the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies, “even then his prognosis for returning and being as good as he was is probably guarded.�

The return to full activity from just ACL surgery generally is a minimum of six months, though it’s usually more in the range of nine months. Chen said Culpepper’s recovery more likely will take a year for full activity and perhaps as long as 18 months.

The Vikings are putting their most encouraging foot forward as Culpepper begins recovering from surgery, which was performed this week. Highly motivated elite athletes often surprise doctors with both the speed and quality of their recoveries from major injuries.

But the better barometer of the Vikings’ concerns will be their conduct in the draft the next year or two, and whether they use a high draft pick on a quarterback to protect their future.

“Nowadays with medicine and the things they can do with surgeries, they keep getting better at it,� said Mike Tice, the Vikings’ coach, in a conference call with reporters in Green Bay on Thursday. “I think he’s a warrior, and I think he’s a determined young man, and I believe he’ll be able to come back from it. What’s the timeline? I’m not a doctor, so I couldn’t give you that. I just know what you guys know and what’s being said. It’s going to take a lot of work and determination and desire, and he’s got all of that, so that will help.�

With 37-year-old Brad Johnson at quarterback, the Vikings’ offense changes dramatically. Though some pundits have said the team is playing better with the game-managing Johnson, the suggestion that they’re better off with him surely is a stretch even though Culpepper was having a rough season before getting hurt.

In the first five games this season, Culpepper threw 12 interceptions after throwing only 11 in each of the past two full seasons. He was playing not only without receiver Randy Moss, who’s the NFL’s best big-play threat, but also offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, a highly regarded young coach who made a lateral move to the Miami Dolphins last offseason.

But as Culpepper showed in the second half of the Vikings’ 23-20 comeback win over the Packers on Oct. 23 at the Minneapolis Metrodome, he was still a gifted player who could take over a game with his rare combination of running and passing talent. He rushed for 41 yards on seven carries, finished the game with a passer rating of 123.1 points and led scoring drives totaling 17 points on the Vikings’ three possessions of the fourth quarter. He also didn’t throw an interception.

“(Losing Culpepper) is a big blow in a lot more ways than just the leadership,� Tice said. “Obviously, the playmaking ability, and again like I said everything that you’ve put into your system for that athlete.�

The Vikings, who are 4-5, are 2-0 in Johnson’s two starts. One win was over Detroit (27-14), and the other was last week over the New York Giants (24-21), even though the Vikings gained only 137 yards in total offense. Their special teams scored two touchdowns in that game and their defense scored another.

Johnson has nowhere near Culpepper’s mobility or arm strength, but he reads and throws quickly and avoids turnovers. His passer rating is a respectable 83.5 points in part because he’s thrown no interceptions in two-plus games this season.

Without Culpepper, the Vikings will present the Packers with a far less dangerous offense on Monday night.

“He’s a dual threat,� said Packers cornerback Al Harris. “He’s got a big-time arm — a big-time arm — and you always have to worry about him running.�

But Johnson so far this season has been bent on not making the big mistake, and as a 14th-year player he’s far better and more willing to change the play call at the line of scrimmage.

“We probably lose that deep threat, that consistent deep throw that we get with (Culpepper),� Tice said. “We’re not going to have a whole lot of quarterback draws in our system. The short passing game is (Johnson’s) forte and timing route, he brings that to us and managing the line of scrimmage. We’re not going to take any steps backwards in managing our run game as far as calling the good (audible).�

Ltrey33
11-19-2005, 03:42 AM
I knew it! When I read the topic I said to myself, "This is going to be an article posted by singer." :grin:

mnvikes61
11-19-2005, 04:32 AM
"ltrey33" wrote:

I knew it! When I read the topic I said to myself, "This is going to be an article posted by singer." :grin:
:lol: yup. they need to give singer a title like pp.o post-it man or something since he posts all the articles for the vikings :lol:

magicci
11-19-2005, 05:23 AM
a big-picture question looms for all of their NFC North Division rivals as well as new ownership that plans on hiring a true general manager in the offseason: how will the devastating knee injury to the franchise’s most important player affect the Vikings’ longer-term future?

were getting a new GM?

singersp
11-19-2005, 05:28 AM
"magicci" wrote:


a big-picture question looms for all of their NFC North Division rivals as well as new ownership that plans on hiring a true general manager in the offseason: how will the devastating knee injury to the franchise’s most important player affect the Vikings’ longer-term future?

were getting a new GM?

No, we're getting A GM. We don't have one currently. Wilf has been working on hiring one season early in the season.

magicci
11-19-2005, 05:31 AM
I thought Brezenski was our GM

mnvikes61
11-19-2005, 05:32 AM
"magicci" wrote:

I thought Brezenski was our GM
same here :???:

ultravikingfan
11-19-2005, 05:43 AM
"mnvikes61" wrote:

"magicci" wrote:

I thought Brezenski was our GM
same here :???:

http://www.vikings.com/frontoffice_detail_objectname_rob_brzezinski.html

singersp
11-19-2005, 05:43 AM
"magicci" wrote:

I thought Brezenski was our GM

Brezenski is Vice President of Football Operations

magicci
11-19-2005, 05:45 AM
isnt he doing the same things a GM would be doing?

singersp
11-19-2005, 05:50 AM
I'm sure he is to some degree, but he doesn't have the authority that a GM would have.

sharper42
11-19-2005, 07:49 AM
brezenski is the gm i thought

singersp
11-19-2005, 04:51 PM
"sharper42" wrote:

brezenski is the gm i thought

"singersp" wrote:

"magicci" wrote:

I thought Brezenski was our GM

Brezenski is Vice President of Football Operations

Brezenski is Vice President of Football Operations

Wiggles67
11-19-2005, 05:08 PM
guess I learn something new everyday! After reading all these articles this year about how underpaid and understaffed our coaches are I cant believe anyone was picking us to do well this year. Our whole front office and coaching staff is a mess....wilf is going to have his work cut out for him this offseason

singersp
11-19-2005, 05:13 PM
"Wiggles67" wrote:

guess I learn something new everyday! After reading all these articles this year about how underpaid and understaffed our coaches are I cant believe anyone was picking us to do well this year. Our whole front office and coaching staff is a mess....wilf is going to have his work cut out for him this offseason

You have seen the light my friend!

UTVikfan
11-19-2005, 07:02 PM
The front office and all has been that way for years. I really pity Tice getting thrown into that, but well, what you do? Red REALLY SUCKED! And if you don't believe me, get Caine to call him by name, hahahhahah, those posts of his...at least I am almost positive they were his....still crack me up. They have done tremendously well understaffed, underpaid, and overworked. The do obscenely well in the draft...well, unless they are on the clock...but anyway. They get really good FA's....except Denard Walker...but that was the budget Red gave them. All in all, it is really, really, really amazing we are doing as well as we are. Its a tribute to all them that we are. Otherwise we would be the Cardinals. I believe that owner is now trying to work on it though, and actually fork over some cash once in a blue moon.

Thank Goodness we can now get Zygi with it. If you have any questions about that, lol, ask Caine.

singersp
11-19-2005, 07:20 PM
"UTVikfan" wrote:

The front office and all has been that way for years. I really pity Tice getting thrown into that, but well, what you do? Red REALLY SUCKED! And if you don't believe me, get Caine to call him by name, hahahhahah, those posts of his...at least I am almost positive they were his....still crack me up. They have done tremendously well understaffed, underpaid, and overworked. The do obscenely well in the draft...well, unless they are on the clock...but anyway. They get really good FA's....except Denard Walker...but that was the budget Red gave them. All in all, it is really, really, really amazing we are doing as well as we are. Its a tribute to all them that we are. Otherwise we would be the Cardinals. I believe that owner is now trying to work on it though, and actually fork over some cash once in a blue moon.

Thank Goodness we can now get Zygi with it. If you have any questions about that, lol, ask Caine.

It's not that Tice's staff is underpaid that is the problem. It's the caliber of the staff, or lack of it, that Tice was able to bring in under the "Red Budget".

With the exception of Tice, you get what you pay for. His staff for the most part is made up of castaways & rejects that got let go by their previous teams.