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Vikings Need Stability at Quarterback to Reach Next Level

The NFL is a passing league. Without solid, consistent play at the quarterback position, it is almost impossible for a team to have any sustained success. Consistency is the key. The Seattle Seahawks could sign Peyton Manning to a one-year deal and still not win a Super Bowl. For that reason, the Vikings are going to have trouble taking the next step if they keep bringing in temporary solutions to their problem at quarterback.

If you believe in the theory that any publicity is good publicity, the Brett Favre experiment worked wonders for the Vikings.  Favre’s pathetic back-and-forth retirement game had the camera on the Vikings seemingly at all times, but left them a win short of the Super Bowl in Favre’s first year and out of the playoffs in his second.  Now, Minnesota turns its attention to Donovan McNabb.

The Vikings acquired McNabb in a trade on Wednesday, effectively giving them another huge name that is well past his prime.  McNabb’s time in Washington was a failure that ended in embarrassment with Mike Shanahan saying he was welcome to return to the team as a backup.  His passer rating of 77.1 was the lowest since his rookie season.  McNabb’s also an injury concern, having played in 15 or more games only twice in the last seven seasons.

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Rush Limbaugh Defends Donovan McNabb Against Bernard Hopkins Comments

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh caused a controversy in 2003 when as an analyst, he said the media wanted to see Donovan McNabb succeed because he was black. The comment itself was an observation that cannot be deemed right or wrong because there’s no way to quantify his argument. However, I believe McNabb was portrayed well by the media because he was good, not because they wanted to see a black quarterback succeed. Now Limbaugh has amazingly come to McNabb’s defense at a time when he’s taking heat from boxer Bernard Hopkins who says McNabb is not black enough.

Here’s what Limbaugh said on his show Friday according to a transcription SB Nation Chicago found, via Pro Football Talk:

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Bernard Hopkins Rips Donovan McNabb Again, Says He’s Not Black Enough

Bernard Hopkins has ripped on Donovan McNabb again, this time questioning his blackness. During a training session on Tuesday, Hopkins pretty much called McNabb an Uncle Tom. From the Philadelphia Daily News:

According to Hopkins, McNabb had a privileged childhood in suburban Chicago and, as a result, is not black enough or tough enough, at least compared with, say, himself, Michael Vick and Terrell Owens.

“Forget this,” Hopkins said, pointing to his own dark skin. “He’s got a suntan. That’s all.”

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“T.O. got [into] the boardroom and saw the way they talked to McNabb. Coming from where he [comes from] – that’s strange to some white people, when a black man speaks.”

That was only a small sampling of what Hopkins had to offer. At other points he suggested McNabb was a privileged black guy “who got the extra coat. The extra servings.” Hopkins went off completely on McNabb with much more criticism, and it was all unprovoked, but it should be taken lightly. In 2008, he ripped McNabb for having no heart. He called McNabb a lapdog in 2009. And then the Philadelphia native threw his support behind Michael Vick.

Where does this all come from, you ask? The hatred stems from McNabb supposedly snubbing Hopkins when the boxer attended an Eagles practice. Since then he’s had it out for Donovan.

Knowing McNabb, he’ll take the high road and avoid the controversy. As for B-Hop, it’s petty to keep ripping Donovan. Of course this isn’t the first time Hopkins has played the race card.

Mike Shanahan Would Take Donovan McNabb As a Backup Next Season

Make no mistake about it — Donovan McNabb is not going to be a Washington Redskin next season.  That does not, however, mean the offer isn’t on the table.  McNabb has been openly frustrated about Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench him in favor of Rex Grossman, but Shanahan told The Washington Post he would welcome McNabb back next season — as a backup.

That would be the day.  To backtrack a bit, the Redskins have gone from offering McNabb a massive contract extension which was comparable to Tom Brady’s, to offering him a role on the bench next season.  Donovan may not be in the best shape of his career nor in his prime, but he is still a very capable NFL starter if utilized the right way.

Shanahan acknowledge that he doubts McNabb staying on board as a backup quarterback is a possibility, but I don’t think there was any need to say it in the first place.  For one thing, it’s insulting to a guy who has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this decade and has led teams to a number of significant playoff victories. On the other hand, it limits McNabb’s trade value. 

The Redskins gave up draft picks to acquire McNabb in what appeared to be a franchise-altering deal.  Now, Shanahan is openly informing other teams that he has no place on the team next year, effectively forfeiting any leverage he may have had on the trade market.

Dallas Cowboys Defense: ‘We’ll Take Rex Grossman Over Donovan McNabb Any Day’

When I first heard of the absurd news that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was benching Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman at quarterback, I wrote sarcastically on twitter that McNabb was the one who missed two field goals and dropped an extra point last weekend (check us out on twitter!). Even if the Redskins had beaten the Buccaneers last week, it really didn’t matter — Washington is out of the playoffs and their season is essentially over, so Shanahan wants to evaluate Grossman and backup John Beck. He knows McNabb isn’t his answer at quarterback so he’s moving on.

That’s fair, but the realization has to be made that McNabb still gives the team its best chance of winning by a large margin, and changing to a less mobile quarterback with Washington’s bad offensive line and lack of playmaking receivers is not a smart move. I know that, you know that, the Redskins players know that, and so do the Dallas guys! Check out what Dallas defensive end Jason Hatcher had to say about the news.

“Everybody started smiling. We were pretty happy about the news. We’ll take Rex over McNabb any day,” he said. “[McNabb's] hard to contain. He’s hard to bring down and he can make plays with his legs and his arm. Not taking anything away from Rex Grossman, I think he’s a good quarterback also.”

With all the smiles in the locker room, it sure doesn’t sound like they think Rex Grossman’s a good quarterback also. Just like Lord Archer’s books aren’t bad either. We all know the Redskins are conceding the season with their change at quarterback and that’s fair, but realize you’re disappointing a lot of people in your own locker room with the move and that you won’t be as competitive. If you’re opponents are happy about your decisions, you know they’re not good ones.

Rex Grossman to Start Over Donovan McNabb Against Cowboys

Mike Shanahan is officially not making any friends as coach of the Washington Redskins.  Granted, the Albert Haynesworth situation is more a case of an overpaid diva acting like a douche, but Shanahan certainly doesn’t seem to be overseeing a unified locker room.  According to Kelli Johnson of Comcast Sportsnet in Washington, Donovan McNabb has been benched for the ‘Skins in favor of Rex Grossman and a lot of players are not happy about it.

You might recall McNabb being benched for Grossman at the end of a game earlier in the season — another Shanahan move that wasn’t exactly popular.  What makes all of this so interesting is that the Redskins signed McNabb to a lucrative extension a little over a month ago.  If they’re benching him for week 15 of the season coming off a decent performance, it’s obvious McNabb isn’t in the team’s future plans.

When word of McNabb’s contract extension surfaced, we explained to you how the Redskins have an out with the contract if they decide McNabb is not going to be their quarterback of the future.  The new deal has yet to kick in, and it never has to if Washington doesn’t want it to.  Needless to say, there would be a lot of confused people if McNabb was the Redskins quarterback come training camp in 2011.

Redskins Have an Out With Donovan McNabb’s Contract Extension

The numbers that are being thrown around regarding Donovan McNabb’s contract extension seem astronomical given the circumstances.  McNabb is almost 34, seems to be injured once a season, and was already benched this year in favor of Rex Grossman.  Despite all that, it was originally reported that his contract extension with the Washington Redskins is a five-year, $78 million deal that includes $40 million in guaranteed money.  That may not be the case.

Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Redskins have a pretty significant out within the structuring of McNabb’s contract.  As part of the deal, McNabb receives $3.75 million in bonuses and incentives for the remainder of this season.  According to Schefter, the Skins have an option to pay a $10 million bonus this offseason before the remainder of the deal kicks in.

What does that mean?  Basically, if Mike Shanahan decides he’s still unhappy with McNabb’s effort at practice or believes the quarterback isn’t grasping the offense, the Redskins can pay McNabb the additional $3.75 million they now owe him for this season and be on their way.

In other words this is nothing like the Tom Brady deal or the deal Peyton Manning is going to get.  The situation between McNabb and the Redskins has been volatile to say the least, and it sounds like they’ve protected themselves against being stuck with No. 5 if things go South.