Three teams placed waiver claims last week on former Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton. He was awarded to the Kansas City Chiefs, so it's at least fair to speculate that the Minnesota Vikings' reported decision Thursday to waive quarterback Donovan McNabb is based on a hope that he would be claimed as well in a time of high injury rates for quarterbacks around the league.
McNabb hasn't taken a snap since the Vikings benched him late in their Oct. 16 game at the Chicago Bears. Rookie Christian Ponder has started the past five games, and at 2-9, there is no competitive reason for the Vikings to maintain a veteran option at quarterback. If Ponder is injured, third-string quarterback Joe Webb could reprise his 2010 role and play out the proverbial string.
Speculation has immediately turned toward the two teams that missed on Orton -- the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys -- as well as the Houston Texans, who signed veteran Jake Delhomme off the street this week to serve as rookie T.J. Yates' backup.
I'm sure McNabb would love the Bears to claim him. He grew up in Chicago and starred at Mt. Carmel High School. It's not yet clear if the feeling is mutual. The Bears had a long and favorable history with Orton, and the only thing they know about McNabb is what the rest of us have seen over the past two years: A precipitous decline in play for a five-time Pro Bowler.
Perhaps McNabb would be an upgrade in an emergency over Josh McCown, whom the Bears signed after Orton was awarded to the Chiefs. But it's probably too ambitious to think McNabb can learn their offense and make an impact on their playoff push.
In reality, there isn't much to this move beyond the surprising news itself. McNabb wasn't going to get back on the field for the Vikings, wasn't going to re-sign next season and has already been paid the majority of his $5.05 million contract -- including this week's game check. If he were to end up in Chicago, his arrival would be a one-day story before the Bears returned to the primary question of their playoff push. It's up to starter Caleb Hanie, not McCown or rookie Nathan Enderle or McNabb or anyone else, to get it done.