McNabb's accuracy an issue

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2011 - 12:20 PM

The quarterback has been inconsistent, particularly on third down.

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Donovan McNabb

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In what sounded like a bit of a mixed message, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb has done "some good things." But the coaches are also going to work with McNabb on his mechanics in practice this week to improve his accuracy.

"It's one of the things that we're going to go through this week in practice," Frazier said the day after a 26-23 overtime loss to Detroit dropped the Vikings to 0-3. "Just looking at what we're doing with his mechanics, whether it be his drops or whether it be the footwork, whatever we need to do to help improve some of those balls that aren't quite on target."

Through Sunday's games, the Vikings rank 24th in the league in yards per game and 29th in passing. McNabb's passer rating of 78.1 is the fourth lowest in the NFC and his completion percentage of 58.0 is third lowest.

The most significant passing stat: McNabb is 9-for-24 on third down, a 37.5 percent completion rate that is easily the lowest in the league.

Accuracy was a problem again Sunday against the Lions, especially in the third quarter, when the Vikings failed to convert on third down. McNabb was 10-for-18 for 108 yards in the second half, but he was 1-for-6 on third down. Some of McNabb's passes were short of receivers, but a couple were overthrown. Most notable was a third-and-5 from the Detroit 31 late in the game with the Lions leading by a field goal. Bernard Berrian got behind his man but McNabb overthrew him.

"I don't know if it was as much high as it was just a little bit outside," Frazier said. "We're getting closer to making those plays, and you have to make them, especially in the fourth quarter of a close game."

Frazier said McNabb's sore right wrist might be contributing to the problem, but that McNabb seems OK. But he did agree that more accuracy is needed: "His percentage is pretty good. We've just got to be consistently good when we have opportunities to make plays."

When asked, Frazier said he is confident rookie Christian Ponder is ready to play should he be needed.

In their heads

At least one player wasn't afraid to admit that blown halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points presents a psychological hurdle heading to Kansas City on Sunday.

"It's something that now we have to get it mentally out of our head that the second half has not been very well for us," defensive end Brian Robison said. "I think any time when it happens three weeks in a row, it is in [our heads]."

Etc.

• Frazier said receiver Percy Harvin sat out late in the game due to an illness.

"I didn't realize he was over there throwing up and really struggling, more with illness than anything," Frazier said.

Harvin is expected to practice Wednesday. In the locker room, Harvin declined to talk about his health other than to say, "I'm fine now. No symptoms. Everything's good."

• Despite the lack of a consistent deep threat, and even with the Vikings wide receivers group -- with the exception of Michael Jenkins -- largely absent from the stat sheet, Frazier said the team wasn't looking for receivers in the free-agent market. "I don't think we are at that point yet," Frazier said. 'We need to keep trying to develop what we have."

• Frazier said free agent tackle Max Starks was on a list of players expected to work out with the team. But don't expect a roster move. "It has no effect on what we are trying to do with our current roster right now. We're pleased with the way our guys are competing and we got to get better in some areas. But we're really focused on the guys that are here right now."

• Frazier said defensive tackle Kevin Williams played well in his first game since returning from suspension, well enough that he created a lot of one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities for the defensive ends.

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