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Daunte Culpepper (born January 28, 1977 in Ocala, Florida) is an American football player in the National Football League and is a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. He previously played for the Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings, and collegiately for the University of Central Florida.
Daunte was born in a jail in Miami, FL and raised by a kind foster mother, Emma Culpepper. They lived in Ocala, Florida, where he attended Vanguard High School.
High School Years
While attending Vanguard High School, Culpepper lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and powerlifting.
University of Central Florida
Culpepper struggled to get into college, not being able to get a high enough SAT score. The marquee football schools, such as the University of Florida, backed off from recruiting him when it was assumed he would not qualify. The University of Central Florida, however, offered to tutor him and help him achieve the necessary scores, and through this avenue he was able to qualify. Although the big football schools came back, he maintained his loyalty to UCF and enrolled in Orlando.
Although he had a love for baseball, Culpepper committed to UCF to play football as a quarterback. At UCF, he rewrote virtually all of the school's quarterback records (more than 30 in all). He also set an NCAA record for single-season completion percentage at 73.6%, breaking a 15-year-old mark set by Steve Young (71.3%). Culpepper accomplished a feat equaled by only two others in NCAA history when he topped the 10,000 yard passing mark and the 1,000 yard rushing mark in his career. He finished his career sixth on the NCAA's all-time total offense list for all divisions with 12,459 yards and was responsible for 108 career touchdowns (84 passing, 24 rushing).
Daunte was drafted 11th overall in the 1st round by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999, but was the fourth quarterback chosen after Tim Couch (1st), Donovan McNabb (2nd), and Akili Smith (3rd). Aside from great arm strength, his quickness and large build (6'4" (193 cm) and 264 lb (118 kg)) are considered a great advantage at his position, allowing him to avoid tackles while passing or running. In his first year, Culpepper saw limited playing time and did not throw a pass.
In 2000, he was named the starting quarterback. He won the first seven games of the year, and helped the Vikings finish 11-5 and lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, where they were routed by the New York Giants, 41-0. During the season he passed for 3937 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. He also rushed for 470 yards and seven touchdowns. At the end of the year he was selected to his first Pro Bowl.
Culpepper made a comeback in 2003, leading the Vikings to a 9-7 record, although they missed the playoffs. He passed for 3479 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions, which helped him earn his second trip to the Pro Bowl.
In 2004, if not for Peyton Manning, Daunte would have likely been named NFL MVP. He enjoyed his best statistical season as a professional and though the Vikings were only 8-8, they reached the playoffs for the second time with Culpepper. Passing for a league-leading 4717 yards, and Viking-record 39 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions. Culpepper was named to his third career Pro Bowl. Culpepper also broke Dan Marino's NFL record for combined passing and rushing yards, amassing 5,123 total yards. Although 17 of his Touchdown passes were for 3 yards or less and the Vikings as a team scored exactly the same touchdowns in 2004 as in 2005 (47) when Culpepper only played 7 games (and won 1 less game). The press said he claimed the game had slowed down for him and he was comparing himself to a Jedi knight.
His first two games of the 2005 season were a disappointment, as the Vikings went 0-2 while Culpepper threw no touchdown passes, eight interceptions, and fumbled twice, but Culpepper rebounded in the third week, throwing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns while beating the New Orleans Saints 33-16 at home. But in week 4 the Vikings stumbled again as Daunte threw 2 interceptions and lost a fumble in Atlanta, where they lost 30-10. After returning from a bye week in week five, the Vikings were determined to win following a party boat scandal that occurred during the off week. Going into Soldier Field to face the 1-3 Chicago Bears, Daunte started out smooth, with a high completion percentage and drives leading to the redzone, but in the second half, things fell apart. The Bears scored 3 touchdowns and Daunte threw 2 interceptions as the Vikings went on to lose 28-3. On October 30, he suffered a knee injury during a 38-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Culpepper sustained damage to the three major ligaments in the knee: the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral. He was placed on injured reserve, and is currently undergoing rehabilitation treatment in Florida.
On December 14, 2005 Culpepper and three other players were charged with indecent conduct, disorderly conduct and lewd or lascivious conduct for their involvement in the 2005 Minnesota Vikings boat cruise scandal, according to court papers and news reports. The maximum penalty they could have faced is 90 days in jail. His defense contended there was racial discrimination among the prosecution. On April 4, 2006, however the charges against Culpepper were dropped owing to a lack of probable cause.
Culpepper was in negotiations with Zygi Wilf, the new owner of the Vikings, in regard to his contract with the team. Rumors surfaced that Culpepper was unhappy with his status in Minnesota due to the re-emergence of Brad Johnson following his injury. Later on, he expressed his desire to be out of Minnesota. According to the Associated Press, Culpepper said that if he was not traded, he wanted to be released. His reasoning was, "because of the fundamental differences I have with management regarding the approach to my personal and professional life, I think it is the best business decision for both parties to go our separate ways." On March 14, 2006.
Culpepper was traded to Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins in exchange for a second round draft pick. He changed his number from 11 (which he wore in Minnesota) back to his original number 8, the same number he had at Vanguard High School and the University of Central Florida.
Although still recovering from a serious knee injury the previous year, Culpepper was able to attend and participate in all of the Dolphins offseason practices, including training camp. In early August, he made it public that he felt his knee was about 85-90% fully recovered.
- Among all qualified quarterbacks in NFL history (at least 1500 passing attempts), Culpepper ranks fifth in passer rating and second in completion percentage.
- He once walked 5 yards on his hands to win a wager of $500 from a fellow Viking.
- Culpepper also appeared on the cover of the Madden NFL 2002 video game, and subsequently proceeded to have the worst year of his career until 2005, keeping with the superstition of the 'Madden curse'. Then-teammate Randy Moss appeared in the two previous years on the cover of Sega's rival football title NFL 2K and NFL 2K1.
- Culpepper also is one of the few players in the NFL to average over 1 fumble a game.
- His completion percentage has never dipped below 60% in any season and his career completion percentage of 64.4% is third all-time (minimum 1500 attempts) behind only Kurt Warner (65.7%) and Marc Bulger (65.0%).
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- Daunte Culpepper at NFL.com
- Daunte Culpepper fantasy news and stats from Sandbox Fantasy News
Most people believe that 2004 was Daunte Culpepper's best year, as he threw for 4717 yards, tossed 39 TDs and put up a 110.9 passer rating.
|8 year NFL career||86||2741||1759||64.2||21091||7.69||137||89||249||1266||90.8|
|8 year NFL career||86||464||2496||5.4||30||0|
Fumble Recovery Stats
|8 year NFL career||86||84||25||0||-51||0|
|8 year NFL career||86||1||0||0||0||0|