A Weird May Debate Rages among Vikings Fans

Photo By Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE Copyright (c) 2004 Bruce Kluckhohn.

Of all Minnesota Vikings players in franchise history, would you transplant Daunte Culpepper onto the current roster if a time machine was available?

That’s the latest and greatest Vikings-themed debate, even if it seems upside-down.

A Weird May Debate Rages among Vikings Fans

The discourse started with this tweet from Pro Football Focus.

Predictably, the post was met with head scratches, mainly because of the plentiful options not named Culpepper. The Vikings employ Kirk Cousins at QB1 for at least one more season, and several fans wondered if Culpepper-over-Cousins was really the top upgrade in this fantasyland.

A Weird May Debate
Photo By Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2005 Bruce Kluckhohn.

A Vikings fan name Noah aptly summarized the mini-beef with Culpepper above the rest, retweeting the PFF post with commentary, “Vikings have a below-average defense at the moment. Any of the following would be more welcomed additions than Daunte (respectfully) — Jared Allen, Alan Page, Carl Eller, John Randle, Paul Krause, Joey Browner, Antoine Winfield Sr, Jim Marshall, Kevin Williams, and Chris Doleman.”

VikingsTerritory would take virtually any Vikings Hall of Famer from history for this time-machine bit and call it good. It’s confusing that Culpepper was the choice in the first place. Randall McDaniel instead of Ed Ingram, John Randle over Dean Lowry, a modernized Fran Tarkenton rather than Kirk Cousins, or even Randy Moss instead of Jordan Addison are more tantalizing replacements.

2004 NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Photo By Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2004 Bruce Kluckhohn.

About once a year, a ‘Cousins or Culpepper’ debate ignites on Twitter — for some reason — and folks debate the merits of the two men. Curiously, Vikings fans always promote the peak of Culpepper’s performance while ignoring the valleys that included fumbles and mind-numbing poor seasons. Of course, Culpepper at his best was better than Cousins at his peak, but why are the Culpepperian pitfalls summarily disregarded? Culpepper wasn’t even totally revered during his playing days. His legend seemed to grow 15+ years later.

Photo By Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2005 Matt Cashore.

Too, it doesn’t make much sense to compare Cousins’ and Culpepper’s stats in 2023, as eras have inflated offensive performance as of late. So, if you see Culpepper stats weaponized against him, well, those don’t make much sense because the NFL was a different animal in 2002. It’s like arguing Joel Embiid is a more prolific NBA scorer than Kobe Bryant.

Culpepper would be fine with a time machine and 2023 Vikings uniform, but given the choice, it’s wiser to nominate McDaniel, Randle, Tarkenton, or Moss. You know — the guys who didn’t have full underwhelming seasons.

And Culpepper is the same guy who posted a 41-59 (.410) ‘Quarterback Record’ from 1999 to 2009. But when you present a quarterback’s win-loss record to a person who supports quarterback record as a worthwhile stat — but the record is bad — they immediately declare, “QB Record doesn’t tell the whole story,” which is true and indicative of why the stat should never be trusted in the first place.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.