Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

McNabb, not Musgrave, becomes the Minnesota scapegoat

Donovan McNabb

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2011, file photo, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb reacts on the sideline after being sacked for a safety during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago. McNabb was not at practice for the Vikings during the portion that is open to the media on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, amid reports that the veteran quarterback has been waived. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)


So with the Vikings closing in on a 2-14 finish and no obvious changes planned at head coach or on the offensive side of the ball (adjustments on defense could be coming), someone has to catch blame for this Stecklish debacle.

And that someone is Donovan McNabb.

Though the headline from Tom Pelissero’s latest item at doesn’t speak directly to it, the first six paragraphs make clear that the mess is being laid primarily on the mantle of Mama McNabb’s baby boy.

Two days before the Week One game against the Chargers, McNabb reportedly announced to his teammates regarding the protection schemes: “Guys, I don’t know what’s going on.”

Pelissero says that McNabb’s confusion extending beyond the blocking strategies. “For players familiar with Brett Favre’s precision and encyclopedic knowledge of Xs and Os, the contrast was stark,” Pelissero writes. “Coupled with some atrocious practice performances, questionable conditioning and a seemingly cavalier approach to correcting mistakes, McNabb had teammates wary even before he suited up for a regular-season game.”

Fine. Blame McNabb. And maybe the blame is justified.

But doesn’t that further indict the coaching staff, first for wanting McNabb and second for letting him start the opener and five more games, even though he apparently wasn’t ready to play? It arguably does, but the ultimate point of Pelissero’s argument is that offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is expected to return in 2012.

Even though Musgrave and his boss, Leslie Frazier, were the guys who went with the guy who helped the Vikings dig a hole from which the franchise was never able to recover in 2011.