Like Joe Namath, Fran Tarkenton isn’t afraid to give an opinion about the team he once led to glory. Lately Joe has been ticking off a lot of Jets fans by ripping the team for their slow start; and today Tarkenton too got in on the geezers-spouting-off game, though in somewhat milder fashion than Namath. Fran’s remarks mostly concern the quarterback position and what he thinks the Vikings should do there. His opinion? Dump Donovan McNabb and go with the kid Christian Ponder. As Tarkenton explained to Bob Sansevere:
First of all, Donovan McNabb is one of my favorite pro players. I think he has been a very great professional quarterback. He says the right things. He does the right things. Right now, I wanted to see us go younger quicker.
I told people back before the Vikings made the move, “If you think Donovan McNabb is the answer, he’s not.” You’re going with another old quarterback.
What we have done in Minnesota is delay getting that young quarterback. In Green Bay, they got rid of Brett Favre and went with Aaron Rodgers. They didn’t just win a Super Bowl. They’re set for the next 10 years.
We need to play Christian Ponder. I haven’t watched Christian Ponder play. But you never know until you play him. I would have played him from Day One. You have to play him to see if you have him for your future.
At lot of Viking fans will agree with Fran’s assessment of the situation. Unfortunately, so far, Leslie Frazier has given no indication that he means to go the young QB route. McNabb will play Sunday against Arizona and if the Vikings pull out the victory there, we should expect to see McNabb behind center again in two weeks against the Bears.
But what if the Vikings come up short against Arizona and fall to 0-5? Then I think it will become very difficult to justify staying with McNabb. At 0-5 you would be so far out of it, only a fool would believe you had a shot. It would then be time go from unofficial rebuilding mode to official rebuilding mode and start getting a sense of what you might have with Ponder. As Tarkenton put it:
I would hope the Vikings get Christian Ponder in. This is not a knock on Donovan McNabb. He would understand. We need to find out for the immediate future of the team.
Ponder was in the mix with five or six guys. We did the right thing drafting him in the first round. Let’s see if he can play. You have to see if they can make plays.
For once grandpa Fran is making a lot of sense.