Donovan McNabb: Why Minnesota Vikings Must Leave All-Pro QB on Bench
The picture above says 1,000 words about how the 2011 season has unfolded for the Minnesota Vikings and Donovan McNabb—and last season for that matter—perhaps finishing the final chapter in what was a remarkable NFL career for the Chicago native.
For the McNabb fans out there (I have been since his Syracuse days), it’s hard to watch a guy who is noticeably slower on his feet and unable to perform like he did in his prime.
It was also hard for head coach Leslie Frazier, who finally pulled the trigger on removing McNabb for rookie Christian Ponder in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Chicago Bears—a move that's hopefully a permanent one.
Time to Move Forward as a Franchise
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Up to this point in the season, it seems as if the Vikings' front office and their coaching staff are the only people to not have accepted the organization being in a re-building state.
Inserting Christian Ponder in as the starter would instantly wipe away any and all lingering effects from last year's horrific season and this year’s awful 1-5 start.
It would also give the Vikings' coaching staff 10 games to see if he is indeed a franchise quarterback and worthy of being the No. 12 pick overall.
Prove Critics Wrong
When the Vikings selected Ponder with the No. 12 overall pick, most people, including the ESPN NFL Draft Coverage Team, were dumbfounded. Mel Kiper Jr. said that drafting Ponder that high was a reach and they could have still taken him much later in the first round.
If Ponder can succeed in the starting role, Coach Frazier and Vikings GM Rick Spielman could prove they were right by reaching that high for the kid. It makes perfect sense to follow up a bold move like that with another bold move by inserting him into the starting role now.
Something needs to be done really quickly, because if they don't find out what they have in Ponder, they are going to be in the uncommon situation of having to decide whether or not they should draft first-round QBs in back-to-back years—and the Vikings haven’t exactly had a great track record in the draft in recent years.
Suck for Luck
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The Vikings are 1-5 and arguably the worst team in the NFL to this point.
With the undefeated Green Bay Packers looking poised to run the table and go 16-0, the top spot in the NFC North is all but locked up and the Vikes have zero chance at making the playoffs—so benching McNabb and starting Ponder is a perfect way for this organization to start positioning themselves for next year’s draft.
Give Ponder the opportunity to show that he is (or isn't) a guy who can be a franchise quarterback for the next 10 years, then they can start planning their draft strategy accordingly.
Ponder can shut down any talk of Andrew Luck by coming out and showing that he is a franchise quarterback, which then would change the front office’s strategy to where they could start looking at trading down in the draft to add picks and fill other glaring holes.
Ponder Gave Team a Spark
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Christian Ponder came in after Donovan McNabb hit the deck on three consecutive sacks and gave the reeling Minnesota Vikings a spark from the quarterback position they so desperately needed—and haven’t seen since Brett Favre in the 2009 season.
Ponder was only 9-of-17 for 99 yards and a QB rating of 70.5, but what he was able to do was extend the play with his feet—something McNabb just can’t do like he used to.
Something to think about before you rip his stats apart—he’s a rookie! It was his first action in a game that was not a pre-season game. He’s sure to get better.
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