Vikings Insider: McNabb finds switch to be quite familiar

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2011 - 1:34 AM

The Vikings quarterback once took over for a veteran and learned how to deal with the change in an all-around positive manner.

hide

Donovan McNabb with the Eagles in 2001. He was a rookie quarterback when he took over for a veteran in Doug Pederson in 1999; now McNabb is going through the same thing with Christian Ponder with the Vikings.

Photo: JOHN ANGELILLO, UPI

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The words, if taken at face value, convey valuable unselfishness, a message from a demoted veteran to the hot-shot rookie.

"I'm going to support him, and I'm going to be there for him. I've said all along this is a team sport, and there's only one quarterback on the field and the other two guys have to support him and back him up."

That's a direct quote, a message vital to the Vikings' immediate future.

Only those words didn't come from Donovan McNabb this week. They were spoken by Doug Pederson. In Philadelphia. Twelve years ago -- when McNabb was the hot-shot rookie.

So just what does that have to do with the start of the Christian Ponder Era? Everything. For when the backup's clipboard was forced into McNabb's hands Tuesday, he immediately flashed back and began referencing Pederson.

Sure, he was sour, in strong disagreement with Leslie Frazier's decision. But McNabb quickly vowed not to brood.

That's why when Frazier shoved him down the depth chart, McNabb tried to overpower his disappointment by reaffirming his commitment.

Before Vikings quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson could get to McNabb with a request to stay engaged for the next 11 weeks, McNabb spoke up first.

"Really, he talked to me about that," Johnson said. "I know sometimes there are quarterbacks who say, 'I'm not helping the young guy. I'm not helping the rookie.' He has been the exact opposite."

Why? Because 12 years ago in Philadelphia, McNabb appreciated Pederson's grace and willingness to mentor. Frazier was also in that locker room as the Eagles defensive backs coach. So he wasn't altogether surprised when McNabb cited Pederson.

"He pointed out what Doug meant to him and how Doug took it when they informed him Donovan was going to be the starter," Frazier said. "He knew Doug wasn't quite pleased. But it never changed the way he helped Donovan prepare."

Look, the Vikings never figured a one-year, $5 million investment in McNabb so quickly would become a student-teaching assignment. But when your quarterback turns out to be a lemon, you can only hope he's willing to grab a headset and make lemonade.

For years, McNabb's class and professionalism have been lauded. Now he gets his biggest test, asked to invest significant time and energy to further the growth of a team that has given up on him.

With a prudent view of the future, the Vikings have conceded that McNabb no longer has what it takes to be their starter. But the team also won't ignore the value of McNabb's résumé -- the 177 career starts, those 258 touchdown passes, his five trips to the NFC Championship Game.

So much valuable insight is folded within those pages.

That's why Johnson sees the development of the McNabb-Ponder relationship as a bridge to a promising future.

McNabb will offer another set of critical eyes -- on the sideline and in the film room. His veteran expertise can help Ponder become a speed reader of defenses. And if truly devoted to this new cause, McNabb can be a calming influence for a rookie with a lot coming at him.

Said Johnson: "That means 10 times more than anything coming from any coach. Believe me. For a veteran player who's been through the wars, to come up and take a younger player aside and say, 'Look for this,' those little details coming from a veteran make a difference. ... That is a great asset to have and for Christian to lean on."

For what it's worth, in his starting debut, McNabb misfired on 13 of 21 passes and threw for 60 yards as Philadelphia somehow beat Washington 35-28. McNabb won only two of his six rookie starts.

Before his impressive success came periods of struggle. Ponder should know that.

The rookie's words, taken at face value, convey a sincere appreciation for the man he replaced.

"All year we have sat together and he has talked about things that he has seen and what he looks for on film," Ponder said. "Obviously he has those 13 years of experience. He knows a little more than I do."

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia 0 Top 5th Inning
Oakland 0
Toronto 1 Bottom 4th Inning
NY Yankees 1
Arizona 0 Top 4th Inning
Colorado 4
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 4th Qtr 3:39
Colorado 21
Marshall 41 4th Qtr 7:45
Akron 10
Army 21 3rd Qtr
Wake Forest 14
Virginia 16 3rd Qtr
(21) BYU 13
(6) Texas A&M 38 3rd Qtr
SMU 3
Rutgers 24 3rd Qtr
Navy 14
Central Mich 3 3rd Qtr
Kansas 7
Utah 13 3rd Qtr
Michigan 10
North Carolina 20 2nd Qtr 3:08
East Carolina 28
Florida 14 2nd Qtr 3:00
(3) Alabama 21
Louisville 7 2nd Qtr
FIU 0
Texas State 14 Delayed 13:35
Illinois 6
Fla Atlantic 6 2nd Qtr 0:20
Wyoming 10
Indiana 14 2nd Qtr 5:58
(18) Missouri 14
San Jose St 7 2nd Qtr 0:04
Minnesota 10
Massachusetts 0 2nd Qtr 3:33
Penn State 27
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close