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.


Vikings release McNabb

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier Updated: December 1, 2011 - 2:13 PM

Donovan McNabb's time in Minnesota has come to an end.

The Vikings traded for McNabb in late-July with head coach Leslie Frazier believing his team had an opportunity to make a run at a playoff berth. But McNabb's stint as the starter was far from encouraging. The Vikings' sputtered out to a 1-5 start. And McNabb saw his last action in the third quarter of Week 6 during a demoralizing 39-10 loss in Chicago. Frazier replaced McNabb with rookie Christian Ponder in the fourth quarter of that game and named Ponder the starter for the rest of the season just a few days later.

McNabb completed 60.3 percent of his passes in his six starts this fall, averaging 171 passing yards per game with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

McNabb celebrated his 35th birthday last Friday. Now the Vikings become the third team in the past 20 months to part ways with the veteran quarterback.

The Vikings will have to find a third quarterback on the open market immediately. With McNabb gone, Joe Webb becomes the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. And Frazier said Wednesday he hoped to take a look at the possibility of Webb playing some wide receiver in the final five weeks.

Following his mid-October benching, McNabb insisted he had gas left in the tank and a desire to keep playing. It will be interesting to see whether a new team will give him a chance in the wake of today's transaction. Both the Bears and Texans are in the midst of the playoff hunt and dealing with quarterback issues.

Chicago lost Jay Cutler to a broken thumb in Week 11. Houston, meanwhile, has seen both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart go down with season-ending injuries. The Bears and Texans are planning to start Caleb Hanie and T.J. Yates, respectively this weekend. Could McNabb find an opportunity with either of those teams?

For what it's worth, when the Broncos released Kyle Orton last week, the Chiefs, Cowboys and Bears all put in waiver claims for Orton. Kansas City landed Orton and Chicago subsequently signed Josh McCown to be their No. 3 quarterback behind Hanie and rookie Nathan Enderle. Houston, meanwhile, signed Jake Delhomme on Wednesday.

 

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