Minnesota Vikings 2011 Predictions: 20 Reasons Donovan McNabb Helps Them Contend
McNabb's landing in Minnesota has been a long time coming and it's what the football world figured would happen, but now that the trade has gone through it's time to analyze if McNabb still has enough left to make a difference.
Minnesota lost in the NFC Championship just two years ago and after a disaster 2010 season, they will be looking for a fast rebound.
They drafted Christian Ponder in hopes of having a quarterback for the future, but the bottom line is that they need to win at this very moment. Enter McNabb.
McNabb has had plenty of success in his 13 year career and what Vikings fans are hoping for is that his success can translate the same way in Minnesota.
Here's 20 reason's why McNabb makes the Vikings contenders.
20. He Won't Be Asked to Carry the Load
One thing that McNabb will have going for him is the fact that he won't have to be a one man show. Let's face the facts, the Washington Redskins put all the marbles in the bag when they traded for McNabb, but it was just too much for him to handle. Add in the fact that the Redskins didn't have a whole lot of offensive talent to surround him with and you come to the conclusion that McNabb just can't do everything on his own.
Peterson is the best running back in the NFL today and McNabb has never had a running back quite like him to hand the ball of to.
19. More Weapons at His Disposal
McNabb at one point in his career had Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy as weapons around him, then Michael Vick took over.
McNabb had three past their primes running backs in Washington and Santana Moss. See the difference?
Now McNabb will have Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Toby Gerhart and Bernard Berrian around him with the potential of possibly another big free agent signing.
Like the slide before, McNabb won't be asked to man the load, but he will be expected to get the ball to the talent around him.
McNabb is the missing piece to this offensive puzzle. McNabb makes the Vikings contenders because he's going to be able to get them the ball and make plays.
18. McNabb Is 34....not 40
Let's admit it, Brett Favre in 2009 was absolutely amazing for the Vikings. He had one of the best years of his career and came within an interception of making it to the Super Bowl.
Then there was last year. Favre clearly looked old and withered. He was beaten up and aging and it was easy to see that his heart just might not have been in it as much as the year before.
That being said, McNabb won't turn 35 until November. He's been playing for 12 straight years and has been playing at a high level. Last season was a disaster for him in Washington, but he could find his fountain of youth playing in Minnesota.
If it worked for Favre, the same thing might work for McNabb, plus he's an experienced 34 year old and not a 22 year old rookie.
Donovan McNabb is a leader, plain and simple. He's been a leader his entire career and that's just what the Vikings need, someone that will take up the reigns and lead.
Adrian Peterson is an amazing talent and has great qualities, but is he a clear cut leader? Maybe, maybe not, but McNabb will step into the leader role immediately.
This not only helps the team, it will also help the new head coach, Leslie Frazier.
16. He's Coachable
It was no secret that Brett Favre and ex-head coach Brad Childress didn't quite get along last season which led to Childress' firing and Favre not being asked back, even though he says he's retired.
Now there's a new head coach in Leslie Frazier and McNabb fits the mold for being coachable.
McNabb handled himself like the ultimate professional last year when Mike Shanahan benched him for Rex Grossman, and yes that's the same Rex Grossman who happens to be a below-average quarterback.
McNabb could have blasted the entire organization in the media, but he handled himself with class.
McNabb's relationship with Eagles head coach Andy Reid was a testament to how a head coach and the quarterback's relationship should be. It's supposed to be a great relationship and that's what McNabb will bring to the table.
When a head coach and their quarterback are on the same page, that's the blueprint for success.
15. McNabb Has More Experience Than Christian Ponder
The Minnesota Vikings drafted Christian Ponder to be the quarterback of the future, but not the quarterback right now. That doesn't mean he isn't going to compete for the starting position either, but one thing he lacks is experience.
McNabb on the other hand has a plethora of experience and the Vikings brought him in to be a starter.
If the Vikings would have put the fate of this team in the hands of Ponder, this season wouldn't be pretty. I think Ponder will be a good NFL quarterback, but everyone saw what happened to David Carr after his rookie season, he continued to get worse. That same thing could've happened to Ponder.
14. McNabb Gives Ponder a Mentor
Ponder never learned from a great quarterback in college, he took over the starting position and never looked back.
Now he gets possibly the best mentor he could have wished for. McNabb will take him under his wing and although this isn't going to make the Vikings contenders this year, it will certainly make them contenders in the future.
Ponder will learn not just how to play in the NFL, but how to conduct himself as a leader and as a teammate.
13. McNabb Is a Proven Winner
McNabb knows how to win and he's proven that he can win under even extreme circumstances and there's no reason he can't do the same thing in Minnesota.
Favre was a proven winner as well and we all saw how that translated on the field.
McNabb can have the same exact success.
12. McNabb Isn't a Cancer in the Locker Room
Obviously by the picture, I'm implying that Brett Favre was a cancer in the Minnesota Vikings locker room. Maybe I am, but he also brought the team some success.
One thing McNabb won't do is cause a distraction. He's not going cause teammates to turn on each other or cause drama over playing time.
McNabb will be a professional in all aspects of the game, on and off the field.
11. McNabb Is a Playmaker
As the video above shows, McNabb can make plays out of nothing, granted this was a few years back, but McNabb is still a playmaker.
McNabb is a lot more nimble than Favre so he has the ability to scramble in the pocket and if the offensive line plays as bad as they did last year, McNabb will be on the run a lot.
Lucky for the Vikings, McNabb is a playmaker and that's exactly what can help this team be a contender.
10. Change of Scenery
Sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what a player needs. We all thought that with McNabb going to Washington a year ago, but this seems like a better fit. Keep in mind that the Vikings weren't exactly convinced that Favre was returning last season, they were entertaining the thought of trading for McNabb, so he's been wanted by the Vikings before.
This doesn't exactly constitute a reason for the Vikings to be a contender, but if McNabb is happy and he's productive in his new home, isn't that a reason itself to make them a contender?
9. McNabb Is a Great Teammate
McNabb is a team-first type of guy and that will win over any locker room in no time, and players will play even harder for the leaders that they respect.
McNabb's only problem with a teammate is with Terrel Owens, but that doesn't even count.
McNabb is one of those guys who never points the finger he's always holding himself accountable for mistakes and losses and that will get the respect of his new team and will make them want to play for him.
The quarterback is the position that all eyes are on in the huddle and if he can command the respect of those guys in the huddle, this team is going to soar because the players will go to great lengths just to ensure that McNabb succeeds.
8. There Is Less Pressure
Last season in Washington, fans were looking at McNabb to be the savior, the man who finally brought them back to Super Bowl glory, but that simply didn't happen.
I'm not saying that McNabb cracked under pressure, I don't think that was the case, but coming from environments like Philadelphia and Washington, Minnesota is going to seem more at ease.
He's not looked at as a savior, he's looked at as someone to bide time until Ponder is ready to take over and hopefully in that duration he will win a bunch of games and keep Minnesota consistent.
McNabb will still have some pressure there's no doubt about it, but it won't be at the lengths of what he went through in Washington or Philadelphia.
7. McNabb Brings a Fresh Attitude
It's not like the Vikings had a bad attitude last season, but it wasn't a winning attitude either. Guys like Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice sat out a large portion of the year and even Brett Favre ended his starting streak and the Vikings bowed out at 6-10.
McNabb will bring a brand new attitude with a brand new game. He's a dynamic quarterback with a great track record and a new attitude at the helm will do wonders for the Vikes.
6. McNabb's Track Record
McNabb has been to a number of NFC Championship games, winning only one, but he still made it to the Super Bowl only to fall short to the Patriots.
That seems like ancient history now, but the fact is that his track record speaks for itself. He's been performing at a high level in this league for 13 straight years. Even though he didn't have an amazing year last year, he still was better than average.
McNabb brings with him a record of winning, not losing and that's something the Vikings need; someone that has been there and done that to lead them.
5. McNabb Won't Need to Rely Heavily on His Arm
The past few seasons, we've seen McNabb throwing a whole lot. That all changes now.
For the most part, McNabb is going to be asked to manage the game, but the better part of his job will be handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson.
Peterson is the best running back in the NFL, and that's something that McNabb hasn't been able to claim; handing the ball off to an elite running back.
Minnesota won't have to ask McNabb to throw 50 balls a game and that might help to keep him healthy and keep his endurance up.
4. McNabb Takes Pressure off the Running Game
This point goes hand in hand with the last slide. While McNabb won't be asked to throw 500 attempts this season, his presence alone will take heat off the running game.
We all know and respect that Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the country and he's going to have another great year, but defenses will have to respect McNabb in the pocket now and towards the end of last season, they didn't respect Favre anymore and that's why he wasn't as productive.
3. McNabb Will Keep the Offense on the Field
This may be contradicting because McNabb did throw 15 interceptions last season, but that's the most he's every thrown in a year.
Favre threw 19 last year and obviously four interceptions isn't a whole lot, but that's still four possessions to the other team.
McNabb will manage the game better and will be more reliable and safe with the ball, thus keeping the offense on the field and in position to score.
2. This Is McNabbs Last Shot
At 34 years of age, this is McNabb's last shot to win a ring. His entire career has been summed up in one phrase, "He can't win the big one."
We saw him lose to Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl a few years back, we saw him lose over and over in the NFC Championship and in fact the last time we saw him in a championship game, he lost to the Cardinals to go to the Super Bowl.
This is McNabb's final stop, or so it seems. He's an aging quarterback who will be replaced by a youngster sooner than later so this is his final hoorah to make some noise and finally win a ring.
1. McNabb Has Something to Prove
The number one reason why Donovan McNabb makes the Minnesota Vikings a contender is because he has something to prove; in fact he has everything to prove.
He has to prove he can still be an elite quarterback. The past two seasons we've seen him be replaced by two quarterbacks and then dumped to the sidelines.
All last season we heard that he lost it, that he somehow doesn't have that "it" factor anymore.
McNabb has to hear all of this and on top of that he still wants and needs what every great NFL quarterback has to have; a Super Bowl ring.
McNabb's chip on his shoulder is enough to make this team a contender for the simple fact that he wants it now more than ever.