Vikings 2011: QB Donovan McNabb

  • Updated: September 9, 2011 - 1:03 AM
When listing reasons to consider this the Vikings' great unknown season, it's probably best to start at the top with yet another aging quarterback looking to resurrect his career while wearing the purple.

Donovan McNabb is 34, which isn't too old, as Vikings fans were reminded two years ago by a 40-year-old Brett Favre. But there is a question on everyone's mind, and it's basically, "Which Donovan is this Donovan?"

Is he the guy who led the Eagles to five NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl during his 11 seasons in Philadelphia? Or is he the free-falling franchise quarterback coming off one disastrous season with Washington?

"Donovan can still play, so I wouldn't get caught up into what happened last year," former Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson said. "This transition will be smoother for him because it's the second time around. Plus, the system with [Vikings offensive coordinator] Bill Musgrave is more similar to what Donovan ran in Philadelphia for all those years."

A year ago, McNabb threw only 14 touchdown passes and a career-high 15 interceptions while being benched twice. But two years ago, he had 22 TD passes and 10 interceptions as the Eagles made the playoffs.

With a one-year contract, McNabb and the Vikings are hoping it's a win-win situation for both. McNabb gives the Vikings a year to transition to first-round draft pick Christian Ponder. The Vikings give McNabb enough weapons and a good enough defense to prove to another team that he's still an elite quarterback.

Of course, the flip side is a slow start that leads to McNabb's benching and the risky acceleration of Ponder's career path.

McNabb looks comfortable and has shown poise, confidence, good mobility and a crisp touch on short and intermediate passes.

"This offense is very similar to what I was asked to do in Philadelphia," McNabb said. "And I have no problem with that."

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