Although owner Zygi Wilf disputed reports that the Vikings had already agreed to trade Culpepper (above), he made it clear late Thursday that a deal soon could be consummated.
“I can assure you that there has not been a deal made as of right now,” Wilf said late Thursday. “If there had been, we would be discussing it right now, although I couldn’t go into any details. ¦ I am not ruling out the fact that talks might be ongoing with several teams.”
The Oakland Raiders, where Culpepper would reunite with Randy Moss, and the Miami Dolphins are considered the favorites to land the former Pro Bowl quarterback.
Culpepper could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Culpepper sent an e-mail to several media outlets Wednesday stating his desire to be traded or released. That caused Wilf, who had earlier said he expected Culpepper to return to Minnesota for the 2006 season, to reconsider his stance.
“We certainly would have liked him to lead our team,” Wilf said. “But he seems to feel that his future is best served somewhere else. We have to move on for the best interests of our team.”
Hours after learning of Culpepper’s e-mail to reporters, the Vikings started shopping the quarterback to other teams, an NFL source said. ESPN reported that Culpepper would be traded within 24 hours, while the NFL Network, citing unidentified Vikings sources, reported a deal was already in place, although a trade cannot be finalized until the free agency period begins at 11:01 tonight.
While it has been widely reported that Brad Johnson would be Minnesota’s no. 1 QB next season, at least one outlet has raised the possibility of the Chargers’ Dree Brees being acquired in a trade, though others seem fairly confident that Brees is New Orleans-bound.