Daunte Culpepper Has Quite the Endorsement for New Viking

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

The former guy is firmly behind the new guy.

Daunte Culpepper Has Quite the Endorsement for New Viking

That’s the story from Daunte Culpepper regarding new Minnesota Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who joined the club in April via the 10th overall pick. Minnesota appears poised to start veteran signal-caller Sam Darnold in 2024, but before too long, McCarthy will take the QB1 reins.

Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

And per Culpepper, McCarthy will thrive. At the Vikings Foundation Golf Tournament last week, Culpepper told KSTP’s Alec Ausmus, “He’s a baller. He’s definitely a baller. He’s a rock-solid young man, and he’s going to be an even better quarterback, I think. He has a lot of upside and a lot of ability.”

Here’s the exchange:

Culpepper doesn’t weigh in on Vikings-themed topics too often, so his esteem for McCarthy is notable. Following the 2009 season and playing for the Detroit Lions, Culpepper stepped away from the NFL for good and hasn’t been too front-and-center in the media since. Regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in Vikings history, Culpepper is revered to this day by fans.

Minnesota drafted Culpepper in 1999, and after sitting behind Jeff George for a season, the mountain of a quarterback took over in 2000, promptly leading the Vikings to the NFC Championship. That game obviously didn’t fare well — the New York Giants crushed Minnesota — but Culpepper was on track to dazzle for five more seasons.

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

In 2005, he blew out his knee midseason and never took another snap as a Viking.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell said last week that no vivid timeline existed for McCarthy’s insertion into the starting lineup. The organization wants the young passer to earn the job organically — so much so that nobody knows when he might take over. It’s wait and see.

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O’Connell said on SKOR North about McCarthy’s development, “There’s no clock in the corner of the room that is ticking down to a specific date, or game, or things like that.”

Of course, McCarthy will take over the QB1 gig before too long, no matter what. O’Connell also said earlier this week that McCarthy is the quarterback of the future in Minnesota. Yet, generally speaking, the Vikings have a 2017 Kansas City Chiefs situation afoot, with Darnold as Alex Smith and McCarthy as Patrick Mahomes, though it’s unclear if McCarthy will morph into a true superstar. Stay tuned.

daunte culpepper
Photo By Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2005 Bruce Kluckhohn.

O’Connell added, “It’s about our team, but also [J.J. McCarthy] is very important to me and very important to our organization, and my experiences tell me for a lot of reasons that our plan for him is in place for a reason and we feel really good about it.”

According to Culpepper, when the time arrives for McCarthy to take the baton, the Wolverine will be ready.

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).

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