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Archive for Saturday, May 10, 2003

Culpepper lands $102 million deal

Vikings quarterback signs 10-year contract extension

May 10, 2003

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— Daunte Culpepper signed a $102 million contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings Friday, becoming one of the NFL's highest-paid players.

The 10-year deal includes a $16 million signing bonus. The 26-year-old quarterback had one year left on the deal he signed after the Vikings drafted him with the 11th overall pick out of Central Florida in 1999.

The total potential value would be the third highest in NFL history behind Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb ($115 million) and Buffalo quarterback Drew Bledsoe ($103 million).

"Now we can move forward," Culpepper said at a news conference following a minicamp practice. "I'm glad it got done today ... I feel in my heart that we have the team that can win a championship."

Culpepper became a starter in 2000, making the Pro Bowl and leading Minnesota to the NFC championship game.

But he struggled through much of last year, leading the league with 32 turnovers (23 interceptions). He was benched in favor of backup Todd Bouman for the fourth quarter of the Vikings' loss to the New York Giants on Nov. 10 before returning to the lineup the next week and leading the team to three straight victories to end the season.

Culpepper threw for four touchdowns and ran for three more in those last three games. He finished the season 333-of-549 (60.7 percent) for 3,853 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Culpepper's 10,402 career yards passing rank fourth on the team's all-time list, and he and Randy Moss already have hooked up for 28 touchdowns -- the most by a Vikings duo.

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