Vikings should pass on McNabb

Posted July 26, 2011 @ 5:42 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The Vikings have inquired into the availability of QB Donovan McNabb. Sources say he's theirs for the taking.

The biggest problem is not the compensation, I believe, but the contract. McNabb is set to make franchise QB money this season and beyond based on the mega-deal he signed last year for five years and a phantom $78 million.

Everyone, then and now, knew McNabb never would collect that money with the Redskins or any other team for that matter. And especially not after he was benched last season.

The Vikings would want to get those figures into a far more manageable ballpark to where they could bring him in as a mentor/eventual backup to Christian Ponder, their first-round pick.

The Vikings are not looking for a QB to lead the team for the next year or two or three. They want a smart placeholder. Six games, maybe eight, maybe 10. Enough time to get Ponder the ball where he won't be shoehorned into the offense too soon.

Now, maybe McNabb has excessive pride and some talent remaining and can fend off the rookie for a season if he came to Minnesota and kept the Vikings in playoff contention. Perhaps he is a better fit in the short term and would help things out if, say, the Vikings fail to keep WR Sidney Rice.

But the Vikings would be fools for trading anything of value for McNabb and would be even sillier if they didn't dramatically reduce those contract numbers and allow themselves some outs after this season. I suspect that will prove to be difficult.

If that's the case, the Vikings should just walk away. Right now, they appear to be bidding against themselves. Agent Fletcher Smith might be very good at what he does (he is), but convincing the Vikings that other teams are lurking for McNabb's services might be a tough sell. Other teams might be interested, but not by trade.

If the price is anywhere above a sixth-round pick, the Vikings should say thanks, but no thanks and move on. Or just wait until the Redskins release him. Now, that could happen as late as Sept. 1, as the Redskins could stick it to McNabb, but then the Vikings could go in another direction.

Right now, it appears the Vikings have their guy in their sights. They want McNabb to mentor Ponder, which is interesting because McNabb has felt threatened by talented backups previously.

Perhaps the Vikings know something we don't. It will be interesting to see what the compensation might be. Chances are, it will be too high — both monetarily and in terms of return via trade.