As another NFL season approaches, Scouts Inc. breaks down every roster and offers position-by-position breakdowns.
Daunte Culpepper was inconsistent early in his career, but has continued to improve each season and emerged as one of the elite playmakers at the quarterback position in the NFL. He has had some durability issues in the past, but started all 16 games in 2004, when he completed 69.2 percent of his attempts for 4,717 yards, with 39 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 406 yards and two touchdowns.
The spotlight will be on Culpepper as much as ever in 2005, as he tries to maintain his impressive production in his first season without WR Randy Moss. Earlier in his career, Moss' departure may have been devastating to Culpepper, and there's no question that Moss' explosiveness will be missed. But Culpepper now has the rare combination of tools, combined with the experience and savvy, to carry the Vikings' offense without Moss. Culpepper is still only 28 years old and has emerged as one of the top-five NFL quarterbacks annually.
With Gus Frerotte (Dolphins) departing via free agency, Brad Johnson was signed as Culpepper's backup. Johnson has very good experience, but he's only a short-term fix, as he will turn 38 in September. He can take over in a short-term fix, but his lack of playmaking skills, combined with his marginal arm strength and athleticism, will force the team to scale back the offense entirely too much for the team to succeed with him as a starter in a long-term injury situation.
With that in mind, he's a decent backup at this point in his career, but shouldn't be counted on in that role past the 2005 season, which is why it's time for the Vikings to groom a legitimate backup.