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Updated: July 27th, 2011 8:07am
Christian Ponder says he'd welcome Donovan McNabb, still wants to play

Christian Ponder says he'd welcome Donovan McNabb, still wants to play

by Tom Pelissero
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As recently as Sunday, Christian Ponder said he believed he would start the Minnesota Vikings' season opener on Sept. 11 at San Diego.

That was before the Vikings reached a tentative agreement to acquire 34-year-old quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Washington Redskins.

But not even the acquisition of a six-time Pro Bowl pick has Ponder ruling out the possibility of spending his first NFL game under center. 

"Excited to have McNabb join," the No. 12 overall draft pick posted on Twitter early Wednesday morning. "Will learn a lot from a Pro Bowler. But that doesn't mean I'm not still fighting to start week 1!"

If McNabb agrees to significantly restructure his contract and complete the trade, the expectation would be he'd provide a bridge by starting until Ponder is ready.

As of a little before 8 a.m., McNabb and his agent, Fletcher Smith, had yet to agree to the restructuring, ESPN reported, adding that one sticking point is "how the Vikings' side of the situation was handled."

The Vikings entered Tuesday about $4.8 million over the salary cap and made plans to clear more than half that overrun by releasing defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and his $2.5 million base salary.

An NFL source said there was no way the Vikings could take on McNabb's existing contract, which includes a $10 million option bonus if he's on the roster in Week 1 and nearly $15 million in compensation this season.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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