Minnesota Vikings: Is Donovan McNabb Coming to Minnesota?

Ryan BoserCorrespondent IIApril 8, 2011

ASHBURN, VA - APRIL 15:  Washington Redskins Donovan McNabb poses for portraits at the Washington Redskins training facility on April 15, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Make no mistake, the latest "McNabb to Minnesota" story is playing bigger nationally than it is locally—and for good reason.

Minnesotans are privy to the source.

While the headline was picked up by major media outlets and distributed to the masses as credible news, Minnesotans greeted the story with a collective eye-roll. That's just Charley being Charley.

The Pioneer Press' Charley Walters has made a career out of generating clicks with bombastic headlines and whimsy rumors. His last "scoop" came from the Cold Stone Creamery on the corner of Sixth and Hennepin. His sundae consists of one-part gossip, two-parts armchair analysis, a spoonful of entertainment and a sprinkle of boyish imagination.

I don't mean to bag on Charley—in many ways, he's actually kind of endearing. Like Charlie Sheen, minus the goddesses and the cocaine buffet.

In short, the latest "McNabb to Minnesota" story isn't really a story at all, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

Let's break it down. 


Should the Vikings Consider McNabb?

Absolutely not.

Listen, we're talking about shelling out $12.5 million and a fourth or fifth round draft pick for a guy who was benched in favor of Rex Grossman last year. Twice.

He'll turn 35 next season, and last year marked his lowest quarterback rating (77.1) since his 1999 rookie season. For a little purple perspective, the despised Tarvaris Jackson's career quarterback rating is a comparable 76.6.

In 2010, McNabb tossed more picks (15) than touchdowns (14) and his completion percentage (58.3 percent) was his lowest mark in the past seven years. Maybe Mike Shanahan's "fat and lazy" implications were off-base last year. Maybe they weren't. At the end of the day, the tape and the numbers don't lie.

The argument for bringing McNabb to Minnesota is twofold.

First is the laughable belief that this team is built to win now. Realistically, the Vikings were built to win in 2009, when all-time great Brett Favre had arguably the best season of his career and all the key pieces were still in or around their primes. They fell short. The window has closed, and the sooner the Vikings accept it, the sooner they'll contend again. Remember, they play in what might be the best division in the NFL.

The second reason to bring McNabb to Minnesota is to buy time for Joe Webb, or whichever rookie the team drafts. My counter is that they'd be delaying the rebuilding process, and Adrian Peterson's clock is ticking. If they're simply looking for a bridge, there are certainly cheaper, better options.

Matt Hasselbeck, for instance, would come at less than half the price of McNabb, he wouldn't cost the Vikings a draft pick and he might be better than the former Eagles great anyway. He's coming off an up and down season, but as he proved with his 272-yard, four touchdown performance against New Orleans in the playoffs, he still has some game left.

What's more, there's still a chance that Washington outright cuts McNabb. If the Vikings are truly interested, they'd be foolish not to slow-play the situation.

While Minnesota has a rich history of retread quarterbacks, with McNabb, they wouldn't be getting the 1998 version of Randall Cunningham or the 2009 version of Brett Favre. They'd be getting the 2008 version of Gus Frerotte. 


Will the Vikings Consider McNabb?

Sadly, they can't afford not to.

Joe Mauer's probably the best quarterback in Minnesota right now, and he can't even play day games after night games. 

While Brad Childress' Philadelphia connections are no longer weighing heavily into roster decisions, a big-name veteran would probably be attractive to Zygi Wilf in his stadium push. It's not like Joe Webb is going to put butts in the seats. The Vikings could certainly sell a lot of hope with McNabb.

But I'm not buying.

The Vikings would be best served to go in one of two directions.

First, they could dive headfirst into the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes. He's a young quarterback who could, in theory, be both a short and long-term fix in Minnesota.

The second scenario would be to draft a franchise quarterback and supplement him with a low-cost mentor-type (think Marc Bulger). However, that would probably involve moving up, assuming Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are the top two quarterbacks on their board.

If I had to put a number on it right now, I'd give McNabb somewhere around a 20 percent chance of being the Vikings' 2011 Week 1 quarterback.

Ironically, our old pal Charley may have said it best: "Coach Leslie Frazier admits Vikings have no clue on next quarterback."

You're welcome for another click, Charley.


Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.