Who is Daunte Culpepper?
Daunte Culpepper is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for 11 seasons. Out of the 11 seasons, he played for seven seasons for Minnesota Vikings and was selected for the Pro Bowl thrice. Prior to his NFL career, he also played college football for the University of Central Florida till he was drafted by the Vikings in the 1999 NFL Draft. Culpepper struggled a long way from his rough childhood. He was born in a jail in Miami, as his mother was convicted of armed robbery. His mother eventually handed him over to Emma Culpepper, the same person who had raised her. From his early years, he was very interested in sports, and right from high school, he started playing football, baseball as well as basketball. Later, he pursued his higher studies at the University of Central Florida, and also played college football for its team. Eventually, he was selected by the Vikings in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Throughout his career, he proved himself to a very efficient athlete, and has been the recipient of several awards such as the Vikings Ed Block Courage Award, and the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award. He has also been named by Football Nation as the 45th best quarterback of the modern era.
Childhood & Early Life
Daunte Culpepper was born on 28 January 1977, in Ocala, Florida, to Barbara Henderson, a single mother. He was born in a jail in Miami, as his mother was serving a sentence for robbery. But the day after his birth, he was adopted by Emma Culpepper, who had also raised his mother. She ran a home for teenage girls in trouble.
He attended Vanguard High School, where he played football, baseball and basketball. He was a very proficient player, and was also named Mr Football in the state of Florida in 1994. Later, his name also came in the `FHSAA`s All-Century Team` which listed the top 33 football players of high school football, in the last 100 years in Florida.
Though he was drafted by the New York Yankees, in the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft, he decided not to sign and instead go for college. However, he faced struggles to enter college, as his SAT scores were quite low. Eventually, he as accepted by the University of Central Florida, and he also committed to play for its football team.
Due to his proficiency in the sport, he broke and rewrote all records most of which were held by Darin Slack. As a freshman, Culpepper was named Offensive Most Valuable Player after he threw for 2565 yards and guided the team to 242.45 yards per game. After he finished the junior season, though others tried to lure him out to enter the draft and join the NFL, he chose to remain at the University to finish his graduation, as well as play his senior year.
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Daunte Culpepper was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1999 NFL Draft, as the eleventh overall pick. He only played one game in his first year, rushing thrice for six yards and not throwing any passes.
He was named the team`s starting quarterback in 2000, and he led his team to victory in the season`s first seven games. Minnesota Vikings also advanced to the NFC Championship game, where they got beaten by the New York Giants. He passed for 3937 yards, 33 touchdowns with 16 interceptions during the season. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl, at the end of the year.
Over the next season, he struggled and threw 14 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. He started all the 11 games in which he played, but he missed the last five games of the season, due to his knee injury in a match against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His most remarkable performance was in the match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where his team registered a 20-16 victory.
In 2002, his struggle continued and he threw 18 touchdowns to 23 interceptions, leading his team to a 6-10 record. In 2003, he led the Vikings to a 9-7 record; however they missed the playoffs. He also passed for 3479 yards, 25 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. His performance also earned him his second selection to the Pro Bowl.
His performance improved even further in the 2004 season. He passed for a league-leading 4717 yards, with a Viking-record of 39 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and this helped him earning his third selection to the Pro Bowl. During the 2005 season, along with three other players, Culpepper was charged with indecent conduct, and disorderly conduct. He was eventually traded off to the Miami Dolphins.
Over the next few years, he played for few other teams, which were the Oakland Raiders, the Detroit Lions and the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.
Other than football, he has also made a guest appearance in the TV sitcom `George Lopez`, and a cameo appearance in the 2004 romantic comedy film `50 First Dates`.
Family & Personal Life
Daunte Culpepper has been married to Kimberly Rah since July 6, 2002. They have four children.