The Vikings generated a great deal of buzz this offseason about potential quarterbacks to replace the retired (for now) Brett Favre. Of all the quarterbacks available, the Vikings made the right move and went after and traded for the one who will fit best in the Minnesota offense.
That quarterback is the 34-year-old Donovan McNabb. The Vikings were not looking for someone to be the future of the team. The future is the hands of the No. 12 overall draft pick, Christian Ponder. The Vikings just needed someone to bridge the gap until Ponder is ready.
With McNabb at the helm during 2011, the Vikings have put themselves in good position to win games and make a run at the playoffs. The organization has made it quite clear that this is not a rebuilding season. Here are the five reasons that McNabb was the right choice to keep the quarterback seat warm for young Ponder.
The Vikings signed McNabb to a one-year contract, but it is a much bigger investment than one year. He will be the main role model for young Christian Ponder. What Ponder learns under McNabb will follow him for the rest of his career, and that is a great thing. McNabb is model quarterback. He is steady in the pocket, yet he moves when he needs to.
Ponder is a smart player, so learning from McNabb will be natural for him. There is no doubt that Joe Webb will also learn from McNabb, as mobility is one of the strengths of Webb's game.
McNabb knows that he is not the future of the Vikings and if all goes well, he will be on his merry way after the 2011 season. This does not mean, however, that McNabb will only be mentoring the young quarterbacks. He is also here to win—he has made that quite clear.
McNabb definitely transforms the Vikings offense into a contender, and depending on how well Ponder learns from him, McNabb could affect this offense even after he is gone.
What the Vikings needed for 2011 was a proven quarterback. Donovan McNabb is that quarterback. He has been to five NFC Championship games and even a Super Bowl. Not to mention, he made the playoffs eight of 11 seasons in Philadelphia. It seemed that every year with McNabb running the offense, the Eagles made a run deep into the playoffs.
Compared to all of the other quarterbacks that the Vikings could have gone after, not one comes close to those stats. Quarterbacks like Matt Hasselbeck played on some great teams with some great talent, but McNabb stands above the rest.
McNabb has been successful through his entire career—with the exception of last season in Washington. McNabb will no doubt use the talent already in place in Minnesota and generate wins.
Last season, one of the main reasons for the downfall of the Vikings was Brett Favre getting hit. This was due to poor play from the offensive line, and the line did not get any better this off-season. McNabb is able to move around in the pocket and throw on the run—accurately. Favre was not always willing to do that last year, and he made many poor decisions and he got sacked frequently as well.
It also does not hurt that his feet can be used as a weapon. With Adrian Peterson in the backfield, Michael Jenkins deep and Percy Harvin a threat from anywhere on the field, McNabb adds another dynamic to this explosive offense. McNabb has run for 28 career touchdowns. If the offensive line can get things figured out and hold their blocks, the Vikings will be a nightmare for defensive quarterbacks. If not, the Vikings will still be at least an average team offensively.
With all of the weapons that the Vikings have, all the Vikings really needed was a quarterback who did not make mistakes. Another one of the plagues from last season was quarterbacks making huge mistakes at the wrong times—mostly poor passes and interceptions.
McNabb, on the other hand, is steady in the pocket and does not make crucial mistakes. He has thrown 230 touchdowns with only 115 interceptions. Not to mention, he has made six Pro Bowls.
The No. 1 thing that the Vikings needed during the off-season was stability at quarterback. McNabb provides that. Coach Leslie Fraizer named him as the starter, and he will start all season barring an injury or horrible play, which is not expected.
Last year, Adrian Peterson was the leader of the team, as quarterback play was very weak and unstable. This year, McNabb will add more conventional leadership and will be someone the players can truly look up to.
After last season's debacle with Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins, McNabb wants nothing more than to prove that he still has it. Like Brett Favre after his falling out with the Packers and the mediocre season in New York, all of the pieces fell into place for the veteran to go to Minnesota.
As Vikings fans well remember, Favre's first season in Minnesota was his best statistically. McNabb is not going to put up numbers like Favre did in 2009, but it could definitely be one of his better seasons.
Playing with extra motivation is always a good thing. It also does not hurt that McNabb still wants that Super Bowl victory. McNabb elevates the Vikings to another level, and he gives the Vikings what they need for a chance at a playoff berth in a tough NFC North Division. Overall, of all of the quarterbacks available during this offseason, there was not better fit than McNabb to lead the Vikings offense.