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.


Irvin, Mariucci believe McNabb's days as a starter are done

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings offense, Leslie Frazier Updated: October 17, 2011 - 2:06 PM

As Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and his assistants hole up at Winter Park and discuss what to do with their starting quarterback slot, there have been no shortage of experts willing to weigh in. This morning on the NFL Network, both Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci offered their assessment of the Vikings' situation.

Not surprisingly, neither is forecasting a very bright future for Donovan McNabb, who could hand the keys to the Vikings offense over to Christian Ponder as early as Wednesday.

Mariucci doesn't believe it's time to make that move. Not just yet anyway.

"At some point, when you're mathematically eliminated and it's time to look at the future, yeah Christian Ponder will be ready to play," Mariucci said. "And then [McNabb] will mentor him in the right way. But not yet."

Irving offered a much more glum outlook for McNabb, whose days as a regular starter in the NFL may soon be over for good.

"The sad thing is you look at Donovan and you say, 'Wow after a wonderful career in Philadelphia, things don't go so well in Washington last year. Certainly it's not going so well in Minnesota right now for him. But he's had a wonderful career."

'Had' seemed to be the operative word in Irving's evaluation.

"It's over in Minnesota," Irving said.

As for whether any other teams would be willing to give McNabb a shot to start up the road?

Said Irving: "I don't know if Donovan is going to be a starting quarterback [again] when someone handed you two franchises and you didn't do very well with those two franchises. The reality is Donovan can still play football. It's if he's willing to step back and come in maybe as somebody's backup. ... This is not a bad thing. Kurt Warner went through that in New York before  he found another home in Arizona."

Mariucci also sees McNabb being valuable going forward as a back-up rather than a starter.

"If he wants to be a backup mentor for a few million dollars next year and help some young kid along, maybe that's what he does," Mariucci said. "I think he's always there if you need him next year. He's not getting any younger. But he's good for a football team."

Click here to watch the full video of the segment.

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