I’ve been championing (I think that is a word) for Ponder to start this entire off-season. However, I have come to realize that there is just not enough time for a rookie to start. Likewise, other teams are not throwing their rookie QB’s in immediately either, at least not publicly. I have been sick of the Vikings signing washed up QB’s every year, but this year actually feels different. First, we are not paying McNabb a crazy amount this year. Think of how bad it was to pay Favre last year, we were fortunate to not have a salary cap in place. So, he does not destroy our salary cap for the year, and with a guy as smart as Rob Brzezinski. The contract that we sign McNabb to will be both short, and incentive laden. Therefore, if he does well any triggered bonuses will be justified. Let’s also not forget what we gave up to get him. A 6th round (possibly 2 depending on how he plays) is not too bad. I was upset we gave up a 3rd rounder for Moss last year, but a 6th rounder seems just fine. Imagine how much we would’ve had to give to trade up this year to get another QB. Technically speaking Ponder could just flat out beat Donovan for the starting job and McNabb could either stew on the bench or we could release him and take the cap hit at that point. This doesn’t seem feasible, but I suppose it could happen. We’d be wasting a 6th rounder if that were the scenario, but often times a 6th rounder lands on the practice squad anyways.
As much as I like Christian Ponder, and think that having a full off-season to study the playbook, he has not been able to practice it with his actual team. I think that he will have a mental advantage of knowing the playbook, but will be able to watch a veteran QB run the offense. He knows Donovan is his mentor, and I’m sure the Vikings have told Donovan his role is to win games, and teach Ponder everything he knows. This also seems to signal that although Webb will likely occupy the 3rd QB slot, with the new CBA rules Joe Webb can now be used as a weapon throughout the game. Whether it be a Wildcat situation, or if we see Webb getting reps at WR, I hope we are able to utilize someone who clearly belongs on the football field in some capacity.
As I thought of this yesterday, I assumed the argument that signing an established QB such as McNabb would make Sidney Rice think about staying. Clearly, that was incorrect. I would also say that I am glad the Vikings did not pay Sidney for that kind of money. I believe he will do great things, but his injury history is a clear red flag. We can’t fault the Vikings for not trying, it sounds as if they were doing everything they could to keep Sidney in purple, without overpaying. Peterson’s reaction on Twitter was a bit alarming, he sounded genuinely shocked that Sidney Rice was leaving, hopefully it does not trigger any kind of negative feelings towards the front office.
I think this creates a good training camp battle for our receivers, I am excited to see if Jaymar Johnson can be a difference maker, Cris Carter raved about him last year.
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