According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Minnesota Vikings have released veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb.
It has been reported that McNabb asked for his release after being demoted to third-string quarterback, behind rookie first-round draft pick Christian Ponder and second-year quarterback Joe Webb.
He is interested in attempting to sign with either the Chicago Bears or the Houston Texans. Both teams are likely to reach the postseason despite recently suffering season-ending injuries to their starting quarterbacks (Jay Cutler with the Bears and Matt Schaub with the Texans).
The Bears are using Caleb Hanie as their starter, but Hanie threw three interceptions last week in a loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Texans also suffered a season-ending injury to backup quarterback Matt Leinart, putting untried T.J. Yates as the starter for the AFC South’s top team. Both teams could use an established veteran to lead their team into the playoffs.
McNabb, who turned 35 last week, started the first six games of the season for the Vikings but was benched for Ponder. McNabb led the Vikings to one win in six starts, throwing for four touchdowns and two interceptions with an 82.9 passer rating. At the time of his benching, a report surfaced from NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi questioning McNabb’s work ethic with the Vikings, a report that McNabb has denied.
Ponder has started the last 5 games, leading the Vikings to just a single win. He has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions, for a passer rating of 72.6. He has also rushed 18 times for 140 yards, an impressive 7.8 yards per rush.
The 2011 season marks the second straight extremely disappointing season for the former Eagles’ great. Last year, McNabb was named the Redskins’ starter heading into the season but was benched by head coach MKike Shanahan in a week 8 matchup against the Detroit Lions. He ended up signing a five-year, $78 million contract extension but was benched a month later in favor of Grossman. He was demoted to third-string before the end of the season.
The Redskins traded McNabb to the Vikings on July 27th for a sixth-round draft pick in 2012 and a conditional draft pick in 2013. But he was benched on October 18th and released on December 1st.
The future for the six-time Pro Bowler is now in question, especially after having lost his starting job to Rex Grossman and Christian Ponder in back-to-back seasons. I think he’ll sign with a team but I don’t think he’ll be a starter. I fear that he could go to the Dallas Cowboys as a backup, in which I would have to completely root against him (in the event that he plays).