Culpepper Takes Every Snap

The Vikings returned to practice Thursday with a familiar face behind center -- more often than some had anticipated.

It was clear to most Vikings observers that, when the Vikings return to play next week vs. the Broncos, Daunte Culpepper will be under center at quarterback. But, after missing two games, it was clear Culpepper wants to leave no doubt that he's ready to play.

As the Vikings resumed practice Thursday, Culpepper took every snap and reported no soreness. Today may be a better gauge of soreness, but he looked sharp and is ready to return.

There was a mixed opinion among fans as to whether Culpepper should have sat out the Falcons game, just as their is a mixed opinion about how and when to get Culpepper back in the lineup given Gus Frerotte's strong performance.

Culpepper did his best to dispel any of that kind of talk Thursday. It's his job. He intends to keep it and you can expect to see No. 11 starting when the Vikes meet the Broncos next weekend.

FRIDAY NOTES
* It's a rough time to be John Avery right now. Barring an injury that will put someone else on injured reserve, Avery not only has to worry about a roster spot with returner Nick Davis -- who starts practicing Monday -- but also a RB roster spot in the event Michael Bennett returns.
* VU has been told Bennett is still targeting Nov. 2 vs. the Packers as his return date to action. He spent about 20 minutes Thursday on a treadmill at Winter Park as part of his initial rehabilitation work.
* There are still questions lingering about D'Wayne Bates' foot. He was limited again Thursday in practice and there are doubts as to whether he will play next week or miss yet another game. Wally Pipp, anyone?
* Willie Offord was fined $5,000 by the NFL for taunting after a punt in last week's game with the Falcons. He is not expected to appeal because he was penalized for the infraction and both he and coach Tice called the incident "dumb." Dumb and spendy.

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