Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


McNabb: I want to win and I want to win here

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Super Bowl, Ryan Longwell Updated: July 29, 2011 - 7:12 PM

Donovan McNabb conducted a conference call with Twin Cities reporters this evening after getting into town and going through his physical (he passed). Here are some highlights: 

How long has this trade been in the works? "From my understanding that was communication before the lockout. Obviously nothing could happen during. There wasn’t much added into the conversation of this possibly happening before, but obviously as the lockout was ended and conversation could start, there was major talks, and obviously we’re here and got the job done."

Did you seek any assurances about your role? "That’s part of negotiations. That’s part of trades. When you trade for a guy who’s been a starter for 12 years, you’re not bringing him in here to be a backup. You’re bringing him in here to win now. There was communication about it. But I’ve been in the siutation before, being the starter and they draft a young guy. But you try to prepare yourself and go out on the field to do the right thing to contribute to winning while you’re helping the young guy along. He’s learning. As well as being he starter, you’re learning as well. I look forward to working with Joe [Webb], as well as Christian [Ponder] to try to make each and every one of us better at the position."

How do you weigh the issue of helping a guy that wants to take your job? "You can’t focus on that. My focus is to lead this team to the playoffs and possibly a Super Bowl win. While you’re preparing, if he has any questions, you answer the questions for him. You be professional. You show them how to be a pro and how to be great at your job. I think for those who can’t handle that aspect of trying to lead a guy into the role in which you’re in… Everybody is different. I’m not that way. Things happen. Obviously, when they drafted Kevin Kolb in Philadelphia, I never gave him the cold shoulder. I just continued to work with him, communicate with him, still talk to him to this day. And he’s had his opportunity now to become a starter in Arizona. You can’t play this game as long as Brett [Favre] did all the time. There is going to be a time when the young guy is going to step into that role. You just have to make sure that when you’re all done and you decide to walk away from the game that he’s ready to play and you can watch him before."

Why did you want to come to the Vikings? “You always want to be a part of a winning organization. Being at Philadelphia didn’t start out that way, but we built a winning organization that year. Each year we were expected to make the playoffs, make it to the first-, second-round, NFC Championship, possible Super Bowl. I think we have the talent over here like we had in Philadelphia. Leslie [Frazier] was a part of that, [head athletic trainer Eric] Sugarman was a part of that, [Tom] Kanavy was a part of that. Guys that are here in this organization understand what it takes in order to get back to that. We have talent here, and I think if we just continue to execute out on the field like we’re supposed to and get better and better each time, we can get to that point. So I look forward to it.”

What is your status as far as practicing? “I cannot participate in practice until Aug. 4. This will be the time for me to put on the mental cap and learn what’s going on while Christian Ponder and Joe are there running the plays and me visualizing the plays and knowing where guys are going to be. Reading over defense, knowing where I’m going to go with the ball, and then when the time comes that’s when you work with the guys and make sure the chemistry starts from there.”

How short did you want your contract to be when you redid it? “It’s not about that. I want to win and I want to win here. My focus this year is to do whatever it takes to help us win. Everything else will take care of itself. Do I want to end my career. Absolutely. So obviously there’s going to be talks with that and everything else. I can’t focus on the future. I can’t focus on who is going to be where and what. I can only focus on what’s going on right now, and right now I’m a Minnesota Viking. I would love to be here and end my career here. But the most important thing is to win, and we want to win and win now.”

How much did last year in Washington influence you?
 “Sometimes you have a down year and you bounce back and that’s the way that I see it. I put last year behind me. It was a learning experience. It’s one that I can take a lot from and be able to benefit from it this year. I look forward to that. This opportunity is something that I enjoy and I take a full head of steam and going to be prepared and ready to go.”

What went wrong last season? "You know what, everything was a blur and it's going to continue to be a blur because that's behind me right now. So I've moved on, they are moving on and we're going to keep it as such."

What's the length of your contract? "It's undisclosed right now. It's like more for 20 years for $20 million a year [he is kidding]. Yeah, you know, we're going to challenge Peyton [Manning] and his contract. It's undisclosed at this particular point. The main focus for me was get to a ball club that has a chance at winning. It's not about the money. It's not about that. I've done well over the years. My focus is doing whatever it takes to win." 
 

AYODELE SIGNS

In addition to the McNabb trade, the Vikings also announced they had signed free agent nose tackle Remi Ayodele. Ayodele had been with the Saints and received a $9 million, three-year deal.

Although it wasn't official, likely because the contracts hadn't been signed, wide receiver Devin Aromashodu (Chicago) and kicker Ryan Longwell also have agreed to terms.


 

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