CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Donovan McNabb #5 of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked in the end zone for a saftey by the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
So it turns out that, according to 1500 ESPN, the Minnesota Vikings didn't release their backup quarterback yesterday afternoon.
Multiple NFL sources told 1500ESPN.com on Friday that McNabb had been relegated to running the scout team in recent weeks, and it's believed he asked for his release after being informed he would be No. 3 on the depth chart for the rest of the season, beginning with Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.
The change meant McNabb, 35, would have had virtually no chance to get back on the field even if something happened to rookie Christian Ponder and he would have given up even more snaps in practice to second-year pro Joe Webb, who moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart.
So, this is how the Donovan McNabb era. . .and, in all likelihood, Donovan McNabb's date with NFL relevance. . .ends. Not with a bang, and barely with a whimper. In six games, he had just one victory, completing a shade more than 60% of his passes, with four touchdown passes to two interceptions. He cost the Vikings a few million dollars and a sixth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
What I thought was humorous was, while watching the Vikings/Falcons game this past weekend. . .and I just caught it on the periphery, because I had the television turned down and my satellite radio feed of Paul Allen and company on KFAN turned up. . .former NFL coach and current Fox analyst Brian Billick said that McNabb "didn't do anything to deserve being benched."
For starters. . .honestly, when announcers prepare to do games involving the Vikings, do they even do any research on this team? I mean, a couple of weeks ago the ESPN crew proved that they clearly don't, but we expect that from ESPN. I thought the standards for the Fox crews that don't involve Joe Buck might be a little higher, but apparently that's not the case.
Secondly, the sentence "Donovan McNabb didn't do anything to deserve being benched" is exactly four words too long. Donovan McNabb didn't do anything. . .that's WHY he was benched. I was willing to give him a second lease on life after the Arizona game because, well, the Vikings won and stuff. Then we went into Chicago on a Sunday night, McNabb dropped back to pass, and turtled up in the end zone for an easy Chicago safety.
The Donovan McNabb era in Minnesota effectively ended right there. Christian Ponder came in for the last quarter and a half or so of that one, and the writing was officially on the wall.
There are rumors floating around that teams might make a waiver claim on Donovan McNabb, thereby taking his salary off the Vikings' books for the rest of the season. I'd be surprised if it were to happen. Donovan McNabb is one of only three quarterbacks in NFL history to be the opening day starter for three different teams in three consecutive seasons. He's also been run out of all three of those cities. He might latch on as a backup, but I think his days as a starter in the NFL are pretty much over with.
So, the Vikings need a #3 quarterback. What do they do? I think I have an idea. . .but that's coming in another post.