•ON HOW HE HAS GROWN SINCE HIS NFL DEBUT IN 1999 I've learned I don't have to be Superman. I don't have to break three tackles and throw a 50-yard bomb on every play. Sometimes you have to throw it away and let the punter do his job. I realize the big picture, that sometimes you gotta play the field-position game. I never thought about the field-position game earlier in my career.
•ON GETTING BOOED IN 2001-02 I'd never heard anyone boo me. It woke me up, made me realize things can change like that. The good thing was, I never took it home with me. I had my wife [Kim] and my kids, and I just forgot about it. Home was a place I could find my peace.
•ON HIMSELF AS A STUDENT AT VANGUARD HIGH IN OCALA, FLA. I was smart, but I was a slacker. I wouldn't push myself. I had the wrong perception about everything.
•ON HIS FAVORITE TEACHER My 10th-grade algebra teacher, Ms. Shellman [Shirley Whitmore Shellman, inset]. She was always on me, making sure I did the right stuff. She was like my mama that wasn't my mama.
•ON MS. SHELLMAN'S LASTING IMPRESSION She gave me so many little lessons about treating people right, being a good human being. She still comes to one of our games each year, and I always talk to her around the holidays.
•ON HIS "I WANT TO BE THE BEST EVER" QUOTE ON THE DEC. 4, 2000, SI COVER I still say that. I feel that in my heart. I've worked for everything I've got in sports. I wasn't always the best, most talented athlete. But I would outwork you.
•ON HOW FAR HE CAN THROW Seventy yards. Maybe 75.
•ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH RANDY MOSS We're still tight. We're growing old together. Moss is probably my closest friend on the team.
•ON SIDELINE BLOWUPS WITH MOSS That's the game. That's real. We might go days and not talk to each other because we're so mad, but when all is said and done, it's our love. Growing up, my cousins and I would fight like cats and dogs, but no one outside the house was going to mess with us. That's me and Moss.
•ON PREPARATION I'm not a 6 a.m. guy. I prepare on the field. I'm the type who learns by doing. Some people can look at something on film one time and do it. I like to feel it.
•ON CELEBRATING TDS BY DOING THE ROLL It started with the song Get Your Roll On by the Big Tymers, the hip-hop duo. They do the roll in the video. I added the knockout punch at the end.
•ON PLAYING IN MINNEAPOLIS The worst thing is the cold. But I've come to appreciate the seasons. I like all the pretty trees. I'm all about broadening my horizons.
--As told to Josh Elliott and Amanda Cherrin
CULPEPPER'S 4,133 PASSING YARDS LEADS THE NFC. VIKINGS (8-6) CAN CLINCH A PLAYOFF SPOT VS. GREEN BAY (8-6) ON FRIDAY
"MOSS AND I MIGHT GO DAYS AND NOT TALK TO EACH OTHER, WE'RE SO MAD ... BUT THAT'S OUR LOVE"
Photograph by Gary Bogdon
"Phil Collins is a short man with a lot of power."--Ray Lewis, page 52