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Monday, June 13, 2011
Would Donovan McNabb be a backup?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Every now and then, I am reminded that the NFL has seven divisions besides this one, so I like to wander around and check out the excellent work being done on those other seven divisions by my ESPN.com blog network colleagues. Kevin Seifert of the NFC North blog wrote today pondering whether the Minnesota Vikings should or would add a veteran quarterback via trade or free agency.

This has NFC East relevance, of course, because Minnesota is thought of as the most likely trade partner with the Redskins for Donovan McNabb, who clearly no longer fits into Washington's plans. Kevin seems to be of the belief that the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder in the first round under the assumption that he would start very soon, if not right away, and wonders whether it makes sense for the team to go out and spend assets to acquire a veteran, such as McNabb, if that veteran is only going to start a couple of games for them:
"Stranger things have happened, but the days of a highly-drafted quarterback spending his rookie season on the sideline are all but over. The Vikings probably need a veteran backup quarterback, but should they spend time pursuing and preparing a potential starter with Ponder's inevitable ascension around the corner? I'm not sure about that."

It's an interesting point, and it raises the question of (a) what the Redskins will be able to get in return for McNabb, especially since the whole world knows they need to get rid of him and (b) whether McNabb would be happy in Minnesota if Ponder is going to be the starter there either right away or soon. Remember, when the Eagles traded McNabb to Washington, they did it in consultation with him, and after he told them that was his preferred destination (over, say, Oakland). If McNabb has no choice but to be a backup, my guess is he'd just as soon stay in D.C. and do that. But I don't think that's the case. I think he still believes he can be an NFL starter, and that he was done wrong in D.C. by Mike and Kyle Shanahan, and that he'd be unhappy in a backup role. And if Kevin is right and the Vikings are only looking for a backup, how much are they going to want to spend to bring in a potentially unhappy one?