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McNabb Fiasco Could Have Been Avoided

Jamie Squire

In reading Tom Pelissero's latest article about the Minnesota Vikings for ESPN 1500, there were a couple of different points in there that I found kind of interesting.

The first, and part of the main thrust of the article, is that backup quarterback Joe Webb not only stunk up the joint in the Vikings' playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers in January, but he apparently stunk up the joint in practice leading up to the game.

The concern was about backup quarterback Joe Webb, whose awful showing in the first practice of a short week foreshadowed his abysmal play four days later in a 24-10 loss at Lambeau Field.

Coaches gave Webb the benefit of the doubt because it was his first time running the No. 1 offense all season and they'd included only five or six "Joe" plays in the game plan.

Players figured Ponder would at least give it a go and, even if he didn't, the Packers defense might be so susceptible to Webb's legs they'd still have a chance.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we all saw how that went. About halfway through the first quarter, even Lloyd Christmas was saying, "Man, these guys are screwed."

But the point that I find more interesting comes later on in the article when the options for backup quarterbacks for the Vikings are discussed. . .one in particular that I've mentioned in this space before.

Would the results have been different if the Vikings had, say, Tyler Thigpen under center? Maybe not, but the offense's preparation as a whole might have raised fewer red flags -- not unlike the flags Webb raised with his preseason struggles in Musgrave's offense.

The similarities to Ponder's skillset are part of why the Vikings pursued Thigpen as a free agent in July 2011. They agreed to terms and had a contract drawn up before Frazier persuaded the organization's top decision-makers to trade for washed-up Donovan McNabb instead.

Yes, the Vikings could have avoided the entire Donovan McNabb error. . .era, whatever. . .but Leslie Frazier decided that this team needed a "veteran" quarterback to go along with Christian Ponder and Joe Webb instead. The McNabb thing is a big reason why I'm happy that Frazier is now focused on coaching and not personnel, but I had no idea that they had agreed to terms on a deal with Thigpen prior to that happening.

The Vikings are likely going to have a new backup quarterback this year. There are going to be plenty of options available in free agency, and I think it's just a matter of which one the team decides to pursue.