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The Minnesota Vikings released Donovan McNabb on Thursday, by way of mutual decision, to give the veteran a chance to find another NFL team that might allow him to play this season. No team claimed McNabb's contract as he cleared waivers on Friday, but the Vikings did claim another quarterback to take his place when they grabbed veteran Sage Rosenfels.
Rosenfels spent the 2009 season as a back-up with the Vikings before being traded to the New York Giants prior to last season, making this his second go-around with Minnesota -- as Fox Sports first reported. It's unclear whether he or Joe Webb will be Christian Ponder's primary backup.
The 33-year-old quarterback had been on the Miami Dolphins reserve/non-football injury list since the preseason due to complications stemming from strep throat. Rosenfels hasn't thrown a regular season NFL pass since starting five games for the Houston Texans during the 2008 season.
McNabb is now free to sign with any team, though many believed someone would take a chance on claiming him off of waivers.
Donovan McNabb was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday afternoon after being benched in favor of rookie Christian Ponder earlier in the season. The veteran quarterback didn't exactly provide the spark the team had hoped for when signing him in the offseason, but they apparently wouldn't change a thing.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier held a press conference following Thursday's practice where he addressed several questions regarding the release of his former signal-caller.
Looking back, and just knowing Donovan and knowing his history, I don't think I would have done anything different. Knowing the circumstance and the situation we were in coming into the season with the off-season being what it was, that familiarity went a long ways towards making that decision. So, I don't think I would have done it any differently.
As to whether McNabb initiated the release, as has been reported by several outlets, Frazier said it was a "mutual decision."
We sat down and talked and just as we communicated to one another about what we thought was best for our team and him going forward, just a mutual decision, we both agreed that this was probably going to be the best thing to do.
As of now, Joe Webb will be the team's second quarterback. Frazier didn't rule out signing a third quarterback during the press conference, however, leaving his options open.
With their starting quarterback of the future in place, the Minnesota Vikings have apparently honored a request by now-backup quarterback Donovan McNabb to release him and subject him to free agency. ESPN's Adam Schefter had it on Twitter:
Filed to ESPN: Vikings plan to release Donovan McNabb today, according to a league source.
After being benched following a week six loss to the Chicago Bears, McNabb was benched with a 1-5 record on the season in favor of rookie signal caller Christian Ponder. McNabb was kept on the roster as a backup, but even though Ponder has struggled mightily at times, the team has stuck with him, obviously looking to get him as much seasoning as possible, with intentions of keeping him the starter heading into next season.
There were reports of McNabb being lazy and not committed in practice following his benching, and according to Jason LaConfora, he requested to be released. That makes Joe Webb the immediate backup to Ponder. McNabb will be subject to the waiver wire, and it will be interesting to see if a team makes a claim. There are teams with significant quarterback injuries like the Texans and the Bears, who might want to claim him.
Though the new backup quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings - Donovan McNabb - is "surprised" about his benching in favor of rookie Christian Ponder, he's going to do all he can as a backup to help the team win. Whether that means keeping himself in shape to step in of there's an injury or by helping Ponder to grow into his role as a starter. McNabb gave the usual line about being one play away from being put back into the lineup and how he needs to be prepared for such a situation.
But it brings up the thought about whether or not we've seen McNabb play in his last NFL game. He's 34 years-old and hasn't looked like a starting quarterback with regularity since some of his final days with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was benched three times by Mike Shanahan as a member of the Washington Redskins and now has been benched after a 1-5 start by the Vikings. With another promising young quarterback in Joe Webb on the roster, where does McNabb go from here?
Unless he is released and some quarterback-needy team, desperate to turn around their 2011 campaign, signs him to a deal, then he probably won't be playing this year, especially now that the trade deadline has just passed us by. And what about what happens after that? Could you see a team going with a near-35 year-old McNabb in the offseason with intentions of making him the starter? It would have to be a situation like the one in Minnesota this year, where he plays in front of a rookie who isn't quite ready until it's evident that he just doesn't have it anymore.
And it's not likely any team considers that a viable option. He might get signed as a backup somewhere but no, we're probably looking at the end of the line for McNabb and his last game in the NFL.
Well, it looks like the transition from Donovan McNabb to Christian Ponder isn't going to go as smoothly for the Minnesota Vikings as one might have thought. After confirming today that Ponder is not only going to start this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, but that he's expected to start the remainder of the season, head coach Leslie Frazier was complimentary of McNabb and noted that the veteran quarterback expressed his desire to remain on the roster to tutor the rookie, Ponder.
Now it's looking like McNabb isn't going to go quietly, as a tweet from Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes:
McNabb "surprised" by benching; says "I have a lot of football left."
You can probably take it to mean that he's surprised that the team feels he deserves his benching, and not that he just found out from the press conference, but saying "I have a lot of football left" doesn't really inspire confidence in his "desire" to tutor Ponder. With the passing of Tuesday's trade deadline, McNabb might just push for the team to release him so he can try and catch on with a quarterback-needy team, like the Miami Dolphins.
McNabb was initially pulled last Sunday against the Chicago Bears, where he went 19-for-24 with 177 yards and no touchdowns, but no interceptions either.
The Minnesota Vikings held a press conference Wednesday morning, where head coach Leslie Frazier, among other things, confirmed that rookie quarterback Christian Ponder would start on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. According to a tweet from Tom Pelissero, Frazier expects Ponder to start the remainder of the season, for better or for worse:
Frazier says expectation is Ponder will start the rest of the season. Informed both QBs yesterday. "Donovan was terrific."
Then it truly is a look to the future and not a means to go after more wins for the 2011 season, considering most coaches wouldn't make a season-long commitment during quarterback controversy. In calling Donovan McNabb "terrific", he's a little far off, but not entirely - especially in the game McNabb was actually pulled, where McNabb didn't have any interceptions and had a good completion percentage.
Either way, it's now the Christian Ponder show, whether that ends up being entirely promising or pathetically bad. In the press conference, Frazier also said that he expects McNabb on the roster, via Pelissero again:
Frazier says he expects McNabb on roster rest of year. Says McNabb expressed he wants to help Ponder as Doug Pederson did for him.
A bit of good news here, as a veteran like McNabb can do nothing but help Ponder, even if he's not as good as he once was.
Christian Ponder will be the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback when they host the Green Bay Packers this weekend, as numerous media members have already reported. Ponder, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, will replace Donovan McNabb as the starting quarterback of the reeling 1-5 franchise.
The move wasn't supposed to happen this early for the Vikings, but it did -- and Ted Glover over at the Daily Norseman sounds (almost) optimistic in the move.
And although a 1-5 start can't be solely put at McNabb's feet, his performance did not improve throughout the first six games, and he seemed disinterested, at best, during the beatdown at the hands of the Bears. Ponder was inserted early in the fourth quarter, and the offense showed more spark in 14 minutes than it had at almost any point during the season.
So, grab your gjallarhorn and let the word go out: Let the Ponder era begin!
If you don't have a gjallarhorn, don't worry, because the Ponder Era is officially underway regardless.
Change is in the air for the Minnesota Vikings. Following the benching of Donovan McNabb in Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears, many wondered if Christian Ponder would get the team's next start. After no news on Monday, head coach Leslie Frazier has reportedly informed all parties involved that Ponder will be getting the start on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Vikings are changing QBs. Leslie Frazier has made the change and notified those involved. Christian Ponder takes over as starter
McNabb was benched after going 19-for24 for 177 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Ponder came into the game and didn't put up any better numbers, going 9-for-17 for 99 yards without a touchdown or interception. Ponder had more than one serious overthrow, which can be attributed to lack of chemistry with wide receivers.
Frazier either sees something he particularly likes in Ponder's performance, or the team feels it's just time to look to the future, as McNabb doesn't figure to offer much in the way of future potential. Sitting at 1-5 with very little progression week-in and week-out, it's simply time to see what the rookie can do.
As expected, there is now an official quarterback controversy for the Minnesota Vikings. After Christian Ponder came on in relief of Donovan McNabb in Sunday night’s blowout loss to the Chicago Bears there is now speculation that he will replace McNabb as the starter:
We’ve said it here before, but Donovan McNabb is not going to be this team’s quarterback in 2012. He won’t even be on the roster next season. Frankly, after you’ve benched the old stalwart for the new guy, it’s really hard to go back. And, at 1-5 and staring a top 5 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft squarely in the face, every snap that would go to Donovan McNabb at this point is one less snap that goes toward developing Christian Ponder. Nothing positive could come out of that.
McNabb has been ineffective at best so far on the season, and Ponder did seem to outplay him in limited work on Sunday evening. It does not help matters that McNabb took an ugly early safety where he seemed to slip to the ground in the end zone while trying to avoid a sack.
Coach Leslie Frazier said that he will not name a starter until Wednesday for Minnesota’s next game. If Ponder is named the starter his first career start will come against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, who are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFL.
Well, the Vikings got a little glimpse of the future this evening, if nothing else.
Despite Donovan McNabb going 19-for-24 for 177 yards on the evening, Minnesota Vikings' head coach Leslie Frazier has finally pulled the trigger on the switch to quarterback Christian Ponder, the team's first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Florida State University. Playing largely against the Bears' second-string defense. . .and, largely, behind Minnesota's second-string offensive line. . .Ponder looked pretty good for a first-timer, completing ten of his eighteen passes for 99 yards and not getting sacked while running for his life from Chicago's defense.
Now, the Vikings are going to have a quarterback controversy on their hands as they prepare to play the Green Bay Packers next Sunday at the Metrodome. Will they go with the rookie, or will they throw Donovan McNabb out there one more time?
Our friends over at The Daily Norseman will have coverage of the entire thing as the week goes on, so be sure to check them out.
Tonight, however, the Vikings fall to 1-5 on the 2011 season, and are firmly in the race for the top selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, as they lose to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field by a final score of 39-10.