The Minnesota Vikings had an absolutely abysmal 2011 season, and that was largely highlighted by a 0-4 start to the season that gave up double-digit leads in each of the games.
Though this flop was entirely a team blunder, QB Donovan McNabb received most of the blame. This was due to his lackluster performance (and that’s putting it nicely) and his apparent lack of effort behind the scenes.
Regardless of McNabb’s performance, his presence was somewhat of a distraction and his inability to pull out wins early on in the season gave the Vikings a very negative label, despite actually competing very well.
The thought that just came to me almost nine months later is: what if the Vikings never picked up McNabb? What if the Vikings had started Joe Webb instead?
I understand that in the first four games of the season, the defense failed to hold onto leads. The thing is, offensive production was so non-existent in the second halves of these games, that it’s really not that surprising they weren’t able to win.
I’m not guaranteeing that with Joe Webb in the game, the Vikings would have won their first four games. But the morale on the field clearly rose once Ponder took the field in week six and even more so when Webb replaced an injured Ponder.
That being said, if Webb did start from week one and the Vikings did start the season 4-0, things would have been much more interesting in the land of 10,000 lakes.
I need to clear up two things before I go on from here:
1) I don’t believe that Webb should be the starter now. The team clearly has all of its eggs in Ponder’s basket, and I think it should remain that way.
2) I don’t believe that Webb made the Vikings a playoff team. They hit a wall after coming close but falling short so often.
Webb would not have been a veteran entering the 2011 season, and that is what the Vikings were looking for with McNabb. So in an essence, this idea probably was not even being considered by the Vikings’ staff. But a more athletic QB with experience winning in a big game could have been what they needed more so than a veteran.
Ultimately, Ponder was destined to take over as the starting QB. So Webb would have complicated things much more than McNabb did. But the way I see it, having two guys fighting to prove they should be starting is much better than two guys showing that they either should not be starting anymore or aren’t ready to start in the first place.
Webb was ready to start week one in 2011. Now, at best, he’s trade bait.
I don’t want to see a QB controversy now, and the fact that there won’t be one makes the Vikings better in 2012. But considering the fact that the Vikings lost 8 games by a touchdown or less speaks to the fact that Webb could have been the difference between possibly competing in the division and being one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Just a “what if?” kind of idea.
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