Brief McNabb era ends quietly

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2011 - 9:29 AM

The veteran quarterback couldn't spark the Vikings' moribund offense but asserts he still has the skills and desire to play elsewhere.

If we learned anything from a relatively insignificant transaction made Thursday by the Vikings, it's that Donovan McNabb still registers as a big name across the NFL.

That's why Twitter was, well, a-twitter when news began spreading that McNabb's time in the Twin Cities had run out.

It's why the folks at ESPN cleared out time for McNabb during their evening edition of "SportsCenter," giving the quarterback a forum to speak his mind.

The hot topic: What's next for a 35-year-old veteran waived by a 2-9 team six weeks after he was benched?

McNabb once again stated his belief that he still has gas left in the tank and indicated he had grown restless settling into a permanent backup role with the Vikings.

"I just thought the best move for me at this particular point was to move on and clear my thoughts and clear my head and see what's next," he said.

Sure, McNabb is a six-time former Pro Bowler, a guy who went to five NFC title games and a Super Bowl with the Eagles. But as far as the Vikings' future goes, Thursday's move was minor.

The organization had decided to move in another direction long ago, on Oct. 18 to be exact, when coach Leslie Frazier benched McNabb in favor of rookie Christian Ponder. Frazier was adamant at the time that the move was permanent, leaving no question marks regarding McNabb's future.

Thursday's parting, "a mutual decision" according to Frazier, simply expedited McNabb's exit with both sides OK to admit they no longer had use for one another.

"When you have a guy who has been as successful as he has been in this league, he has an idea of how he wants his career to continue or not to continue," Frazier said. "That played a role."

Financially, McNabb is making $5.05 million this season. The Vikings will owe him what's left of that salary -- approximately $1.2 million -- if the quarterback isn't claimed off waivers, a process that takes 24 hours to complete.

Chicago and Houston, both of which have major quarterback issues as they head into the December playoff chase, were quickly identified as two possible destinations. If, of course, they want to take a risk on a quarterback who turned 35 last Friday and is 6-13 as a starter the past two seasons with the Vikings and Redskins.

Asked to detail what NFL teams would be getting if they opted to take a chance on him, McNabb vocalized his cover letter.

"You're bringing in a veteran who can bring experience to your ballclub, athletic ability," he said. "A guy who is not a locker room cancer who works hard, great work ethic and only wants to win. I'm a winner. And I've proven that."

For the Vikings, both Frazier and McNabb indicated Thursday's separation will now give offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson even more time to focus on developing both Ponder and backup Joe Webb.

Frazier also wished McNabb luck, calling him "a classy guy" and "a true pro in every sense of the word."

"He was a great player and has been a great player for our league for a long, long time," Frazier said. "I have a lot of affection and love for Donovan. Tremendous person. Tremendous competitor. We really wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."

With that, the book was closed on a failed experiment here in Minnesota.

  • VIKINGS WEEK 13 DONOVAN MCnabb Up next: Noon Sunday vs. Denver • Mall of America Field at Metrodome • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

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