|Friday, May 9
Culpepper's deal includes $16M in guarantees
By John Clayton
Vikings owner Red McCombs resolved one of the biggest personnel questions facing the franchise Friday by signing quarterback Daunte Culpepper to a 10-year, $102 million contract extension that included $16 million in guarantees.
"Now we can move forward,'' Culpepper said, all smiles at a news conference following a mini-camp practice.
"I'm glad it got done today ... I feel in my heart that we have the team that can win a championship.''
Culpepper was entering the final year of his contract and would have been a free agent at the end of the season.
"It's a great, great day for the Vikings organization,'' said coach Mike Tice.
For months, Culpepper's agent, Mason Ashe, has been in quiet negotiations with McCombs. Progress of those talks were so quiet that most of the people in the Vikings front office didn't know that the two sides were coming close to a deal.
Ashe was at the Vikings morning practice when word started to spread that Culpepper had reached agreement on a new contract. After the practice, Culpepper went into the office and signed the contract.
Breakdowns of the guaranteed portion of the contract weren't available.
Culpepper, 26, has been one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. A first-round choice in 1999, Culpepper became a starter in his second year. He's been 21-22 as a starter. His best season was his first as a starter in 2000 when he threw for 33 touchdown passes and went to the Pro Bowl.
Last year, he completed 333 of 549 passes for 3,853 yards and 18 touchdowns.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.