In 2011, the Minnesota Vikings had numerous issues, as we're all painfully aware. One of those issues was at the quarterback position, where the team thought that bringing in a veteran quarterback would allow them to be competitive rather than simply throwing rookie Christian Ponder directly into the fire. So, the team decided to give up a sixth-round pick (and it could have been two sixth-rounders) for Donovan McNabb.
Well, that went really badly, as McNabb threw for a blistering 39 yards in the 2011 season opener in San Diego, went 1-5 as the Vikings' starter, and generally just stunk up the joint until Leslie Frazier finally realized that the Donovan McNabb experience was a mistake and went with Ponder and Joe Webb the rest of the way. The Vikings relegated McNabb to the third-string and, eventually, released him prior to the end of the season. McNabb hasn't taken a snap in the NFL since, and apparently the only person in the NFL that can't figure out exactly why that is would be Donovan McNabb.
Now McNabb is working for NFL.com, and the subject of McNabb's time in Minnesota came up on the "Double Coverage Podcast." The reasons for the Vikings' bad 2011 were myriad, according to McNabb. In no particular order. . .
-The Vikings got rid of Sidney Rice and weren't sure about how to use Percy Harvin
-The Vikings were a running team (Gee, a team with Adrian Peterson wants to run the ball. The nerve.)
-The Vikings were under pressure to play Ponder sooner rather than later
-The Vikings had a lot of holes on defense
Apparently, even Brett Favre felt bad for Donovan McNabb when he wound up in Minnesota.
"He said, 'I felt bad that you went over there' and I kind of understood where he was going, what he meant," McNabb said. "You know, I asked him why, because they went to the NFC Championship two years prior to when I got there. And he felt like they gave all that they had in order to achieve everything that they achieved.
Noticeably absent from Donovan McNabb's list of why the Vikings were bad when Donovan McNabb was their quarterback is the fact that Donovan McNabb was their quarterback. As I mentioned, the Vikings went 1-5 in McNabb's six starts, and the one win came in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. In that game, the team scored 28 points in the first quarter thanks to Kevin Kolb continuously turning the ball over (in the final three quarters of that game, they scored six points).
McNabb also played a big role in the team setting an NFL record by blowing double-digit leads in their first three ball games of the year. How? Well, McNabb was unable to keep the team on the field in the second half. Five minutes into the third quarter of the season opener, McNabb converted a third down with his legs. Following that. . .
-The Vikings didn't convert a third down in the rest of the second half against San Diego, and lost 24-17.
-The Vikings didn't convert a third down in the second half in the game against Tampa Bay, and lost 24-20.
-The Vikings didn't convert a third down in the second half in the game against Detroit, and lost 26-23 in overtime.
-The Vikings didn't convert a third down in the second half in the game against Kansas City, and lost 19-14. (Yes, there was a fourth down conversion in the fourth quarter. . .but you don't get to fourth down without failing on third down.)
In the National Football League, it's generally very hard to win football games when your offense doesn't get to actually, you know, have the football. And it's very hard to keep the football when all of your drives consist of three offensive plays and a Chris Kluwe punt. How different could the first four games of 2011 have been had McNabb been able to make one play. . .just one play. . .in the second half of each of those games? All four of those games were winnable, particularly the first three with the team getting out to big first half leads.
Donovan McNabb knew full well what he was getting into when he came to Minnesota in 2011. He seemed to be quite happy to get the paycheck at the time. Now he wants to blame the Minnesota Vikings for his shortcomings.
Yes, the Minnesota Vikings had their issues in 2011. Donovan McNabb apparently fails to realize that he was one of those issues. After all, if he was part of the solution, he'd still be in Minnesota. It's also part of the reason that, with all the teams in the NFL that have quarterback issues, he's in the NFL Network studios rather than on an NFL sideline.