Culpepper Practices

Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper practiced Friday and, while Mike Tice didn't go so far as to name him the starter, it wouldn't be a shock if Culpepper is on the field when Sunday's game begins.

Earlier this week, about the only person who thought Daunte Culpepper could start was Culpepper himself. Barely able to walk Monday, Culpepper has improved each day since and practiced Friday, sharing snaps with Gus Frerotte.

While Mike Tice officially has determined the starting position a "game-time decision," VU has been told it is likely Culpepper and Frerotte were told of the team's plan after practice Friday. The rest of us will just have to wait.

Although Tice was a little cagey with his responses to questions about the QB situation, he did indicate the only remaining hurdle for Culpepper is if he wakes up with soreness or swelling following Friday's practice. While VU is still of the belief letting Culpepper rest for a week may be the best plan of attack, it's looking more likely that we will see No. 11 in the starting lineup Sunday.

SATURDAY NOTES
* As reported yesterday, the Vikings officially upgraded Culpepper from doubtful to questionable Friday.
* In addition to Culpepper, Randy Moss was upgraded from questionable to probable, although Tice made little doubt to the fact that Moss would play anyway earlier this week.
* VU has been told that the NFL has cleared TE Byron Chamberlain to return to Winter Park Monday following the end of his four-game suspension.
* In addition to a $5,000 taunting fine to Kelly Campbell last Sunday, Vikings defensive backs Corey Chavous and Denard Walker were each fined $5,000 for an excessive "shoe-dusting" celebration following an interception in the second half of the win over the Lions.

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