You would have thought the Minnesota Vikings learned their lesson in trading for aging NFL quarterbacks on the decline of their careers. Well apparently not. The Vikings have officially acquired disgruntled Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb.
Not even an NFL lockout could prevent the annual Donovan McNabb trade rumors from hitting the Internet. The Washington Post reported this rumor back in April and on Wednesday, the team sent a sixth-round pick to Washington for McNabb.
The news closes the book on the continuing trend of Donovan McNabb trade rumors that began to surface right around the NFL draft. Of course NFL teams could not complete this transaction while the league was shut down, but it certainly didn’t prevent teams from talking on the down low.
The idea that the Vikings who were one NFL game away from the Super Bowl two years ago would look to Donovan McNabb as the answer is almost laughable. I get it and I understand that the Vikings are in desperate need of a quarterback at the moment. Tarvaris Jackson is gone. Joe Webb isn’t going to excite anyone in Minnesota. But hedging your bets on a player who is coming off the worst season of his career is certainly not the answer. Has anyone around the NFL learned anything after watching McNabb stink it up in Washington last season?
[adinserter block=”2″]I will concede that Donovan McNabb is not the worst quarterback choice in the league, but how much of an upgrade is he really to Tarvaris Jackson? He is definitely better, but Donovan McNabb at 34 years old is not the quarterback to take a team like the Vikings to the Super Bowl. McNabb would be best suited going to place a) with an experienced and successful offensive minded head coach and b) that is looking for more of a manager than a leader. I could almost make an argument that the potential upside to Jackson is better than McNabb, the only difference being that you know what you’re getting out of McNabb while Jackson is certainly a wild card.
I also think it is fair to point out the extra baggage that comes along with McNabb to the Vikings. McNabb always had this image of the “ultimate team guy” thanks to the NFL media, although fans like me in Philadelphia who have followed his career from day one know different. The NFL finally got a taste of it last season after McNabb and his agent went to the media about their frustrations with Mike Shanahan.
A rookie head coach like Leslie Frazier better understand that if McNabb doesn’t win that there is no turning back. McNabb isn’t coming to Minnesota to be a backup. Leslie Frazier won’t be a head coach for long if McNabb can’t produce for a team with high expectations, and any thought of benching the starter will result in a public war with Team McNabb.
From a team perspective, I don’t think McNabb is a good fit at all for the Vikings. Eagles fans and media will tell you that McNabb had a hard time relating to the younger players on the team the last two years he was there. Heck, DeSean Jackson carries around so much animosity for his former quarterback that he continued to take subtle shots at McNabb in the media last season. The Vikings have a young core on offense who tasted winning two seasons ago. If McNabb comes in and blames “the youth of the team” for a playoff loss like he did in Philadelphia, things will get ugly…as it did in Philadelphia.
McNabb will reportedly restructure his $78 million contract. This one stumps me. I am really surprised that McNabb would agree to do this, unless he is getting a heavy incentive-driven deal. He easily could have played chicken with the Redskins and refused to restructure his deal. Quite frankly I expected that to happen with McNabb starting for the Redskins by the end of the year.
To make this deal even seem more confusing, the Vikings drafted a quarterback with their first pick of the draft back in April. The Vikings drafted Florida State QB Christian Ponder at #12. So let me get this right. The Vikings just traded for a guy that had issues on his last two teams when he was benched for another quarterback, and yet they just drafted for a QB in the first round?
My guess is that this is really all about a two-year deal between McNabb and the Vikings. McNabb will take a pay cut with the intention of making that money back on a new deal in two years when the Vikings hand the quarterback keys over to Ponder. McNabb will have two years to show the NFL what he has, mentor Ponder, and attempt to win now with the Vikings. After two years no matter what happens, McNabb is gone, Ponder is the starter, and McNabb gets back some of that $78 million on a new deal elsewhere.
[adinserter block=”1″]To me, this sounds like a lose-lose all the way around. If McNabb comes in and plays as he did in Washington, Frazier will lose his job, McNabb will destroy his legacy, Ponder will have enormous pressure when he starts, and Vikings fans will revolt. If McNabb wins, Vikings fans rejoice, Frazier gets an extension, McNabb is gone, and Ponder will be the most hated man in Minnesota in two years for “stealing” McNabb’s job which I can almost guarantee you will become a racial issue.
Good luck Vikings fans!