Report: Wilf tells Culpepper no trade in works

Updated: February 24, 2006, 7:29 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Hounded by trade rumors in the media for more than a month, Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper finally got some good news this week.

Quarterback
Minnesota Vikings

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Att Comp Yds TD Int Rat
216 139 1395 6 12 72.0

In an e-mail to the media Thursday, Culpepper said he clarified his standing with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.

"I want to update the fans of Minnesota and the NFL community on my status with the Vikings. Mr. Wilf and I spoke by phone on 2/21/2006, and we each shared our concerns about my present situation," Culpepper wrote. "He told me that the Vikings have not yet spoken to other teams about trading me. I shared my disappointment with the lack of communication and the false reports about me demanding more money coming out of Minnesota. I have requested further talks so that we can explore options for the future.

"In the meantime, I have made a good faith gesture toward the organization by offering to move my roster bonus around if it will help clear more cap space to sign free agents. If I am not traded, I want to help coach Childress make a serious run for the championship this year."

A team spokesman said Wilf would not comment on Culpepper's characterization of their conversation.

Last week, Culpepper said he planned to play for the Vikings in spite of reports that the organization is considering trading him.

On Thursday, five Minnesota players told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that they hoped Culpepper would remain a Viking.

"That's crazy," left tackle Bryant McKinnie told the Pioneer Press when asked about the Culpepper trade talk. "I don't agree with trading him. Last year, they traded Randy Moss.

"I didn't like the trade last year, so I'm definitely not going to like this trade," McKinnie continued. "Trading would not solve anything. What's that going to do? Make somebody else's team better that we might have to play against?"

Culpepper, meanwhile, has tried to maintain a positive outlook.

"I have found over the years that people with knowledge of the situation are usually the most ignorant, and anonymous sources are usually synonymous with cowards who don't want to go on the record," Culpepper said last Thursday in an e-mail to ESPN and The Associated Press. "My position has been and continues to be that I am focusing on rehabilitating my knee so that I can come back and play the game I love at the highest level."

On Thursday, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that Culpepper, who had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right knee, appears to be on course to be back for the 2006 season.

The paper reported that Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman told coach Brad Childress that Culpepper's progress is improving. The quarterback is rehabbing in Orlando, Fla.

The Vikings would owe Culpepper a $6 million roster bonus by March 17, but the Star Tribune reported that Brad Johnson could replace Culpepper as the starter for next season.

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