|McNabb was willing to backup Ponder, but not serve as Minnesota's scout team quarterback. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Donovan McNabb came to the Vikings in the offseason to not only get the team to the playoffs but to serve as a bridge to the Christian Ponder era. That all changed on October 23, when McNabb was officially benched and the Ponder moved to the top of the depth chart at least a year earlier than expected.
Apparently, McNabb was willing to serve as Ponder's backup even if that wasn't the plan when he arrived. But after being demoted to the scout team quarterback and falling behind Joe Webb, he asked for his release.
Details via 1500ESPN.com's Tom Pelissero:
"Multiple NFL sources told 1500ESPN.com on Friday that McNabb had been relegated to running the scout team in recent weeks, and it's believed he asked for his release after being informed he would be No. 3 on the depth chart for the rest of the season, beginning with Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.
"The change meant McNabb, 35, would have had virtually no chance to get back on the field even if something happened to rookie Christian Ponder and he would have given up even more snaps in practice to second-year pro Joe Webb, who moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart."
Shortly after he was benched in October, rumors surfaced that McNabb showed up late and didn't know the offense. (He later refuted the speculation.) Pelissero writes that questions about McNabb's conditioning extend back to the preseason.
"According to sources, McNabb reported to training camp out of shape and had fallen further out of shape after his demotion. He seemed to acknowledge as much in an interview with ESPN on Thursday in which he said he wants to play and 'clearing the mind and getting the body back where it needs to be is the most important thing.'"
It wasn't long ago that McNabb was a top-10 quarterback who annually led the Eagles to the playoffs. Now, in the span of 15 months, he's been traded for and discarded by two mediocre teams that thought he could still play in the NFL. In 19 starts with the Redskins and Vikings dating back to 2010, McNabb completed 58.8 percent of his passes and threw 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Not Tyler Palko numbers, but also not what we were used to seeing from McNabb, either.
Put differently, as noted by PFT.com's Michael David Smith: "Three different coaches in the last 20 months have concluded that McNabb was the third-best quarterback on the roster."
So now McNabb's a man without a team. Whether that changes in the coming days remains to be seen, but even if he ends up on another NFL roster, it's clear that his best days are well behind him. Just something to keep when someone suggests that McNabb might be better for the Bears down the stretch than Caleb Hanie. We're not so sure.
After an overtime win last week over the Chargers, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos will travel to Mall of America Field to battle the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz take a look at this game.
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