Culpepper prepared to play without extension

Updated: May 8, 2003, 12:13 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
With only one year left on Daunte Culpepper's rookie contract, the Minnesota Vikings don't appear to be in a rush to sign the former Pro Bowl quarterback to a contract extension, and though he'd prefer to have a new deal in place by opening day, the fifth-year quarterback is prepared to enter the season without a long-term deal.

"I want to get the contract signed soon, and I think it will happen,'' Culpepper told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I think we can get the contract signed before the season. I hope we do. I don't know when and don't know if it's close. But if it doesn't get done, I'm preparing to play the season without it. It would be nice to get it done before, but it won't be a distraction. I'm not worried about that.''

The Vikings would also like to get something done. Vikings owner Red McCombs has said repeatedly that re-signing Culpepper is a priority, but lately he has slightly altered his stance, saying extending Culpepper's deal before this season is not a necessity. That's because the sides are very far apart in assessing Culpepper's worth. Culpepper's agent Mason Ashe is talking top-five money, but the Vikings are looking at how disappointing his last two years were and are in favor of a more modest payout.