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?
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.
Good luck Vikings fans!