Daunte Culpepper returns to the Metrodome tomorrow, in the uniform of the Oakland Raiders. Naturally, a lot of fans are going to want to boo him. The divorce from Daunte, once our franchise QB, was acrimonious to say the least. The one-time centerpiece of the team suddenly became this surly jerk who didn’t want to get on-board with Chilly’s program, and seemed dead-set on being run out of town. Chilly obliged of course, and took some shots at him on the way out (something about Daunte rehabbing his knee in a strip-mall next to a Chinese restaurant, which couldn’t possibly have been true).
Now Daunte is back, and probably motivated to make Childress eat it. Whether Daunte still has the tools to make that happen is another question. Plus the team around him is not exactly the one he had a few years ago when he nearly won the MVP as a Viking. At any rate, Daunte is sure to come in for his fair share of abuse when he steps onto the field tomorrow. This, in my opinion, is plain wrong. Daunte does not deserve the scorn and derision of Viking fans – he deserves a hearty cheer instead. And here are ten reasons why:
1. He led us to our last playoff victory. And that was in Green Bay against Old Number 4 and the Pack. A glorious day for the Vikings, to be sure. The sort of wondrous event we’re unlikely to ever experience again as long as Brad Childress is our coach.
2. It’s not his fault he was born with little hands.
3. I’ve never heard anything about Daunte not liking kittens.
4. He put up with a lot of crap for us. Like having Cris Carter and Randy Moss in his ear day-after-day. And not having the greatest offensive line in the world blocking for him. And having to deal with the whole transition from the Denny Green era to the Mike Tice era. Daunte’s was a turbulent tenure to be sure. That he survived it without punching someone in the face is worthy of admiration.
5. Everyone knows he was tricked into getting on that boat. He thought it was a pirate ship and they were going to get some booty. The other kind of booty.
6. Did you know that booing can give you cancer? I’m serious. I looked it up.
7. He plays for the Raiders now, so you know, a sympathy cheer would at least be in order.
8. Gandhi would definitely not boo him, so neither should you.
9. The Vikings have enough bad karma as it is. Don’t make it worse.
10. He’s not Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, Kelly Holcomb or Koy Detmer.