Notebook: Cutting Donovan McNabb 'the best thing to do,' Frazier says
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier refused to say who made the first move that led to the Minnesota Vikings waiving veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb on Thursday, but he stressed the decision was mutual.
"We sat down and talked," Frazier said, "and just as we communicated to one another about what we thought was best for our team and best for him going forward ... we both agreed that this was probably going to be the best thing to do."
In a hastily called media conference after Thursday's practice, Frazier said the topic didn't come up until a Wednesday meeting with McNabb, who was benched six weeks earlier in favor of rookie Christian Ponder.
Frazier wouldn't confirm multiple reports that McNabb's agent requested the release.
"He didn't approach me," Frazier said of McNabb. "This is a discussion he and I had (Wednesday) discussing his situation, our situation. We both mutually agreed that it was time to part ways. That was our first conversation regarding that."
McNabb, 35, is now subject to waivers for 24 hours. If he isn't claimed, McNabb would have the option of collecting the balance of his $5.05 million base salary because he's a vested veteran.
Dumping McNabb allows offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson to devote all their time to developing two younger quarterbacks, Ponder and second-year pro Joe Webb.
"That's purely what it does," Frazier said. "We've got two guys we're working with now as opposed to three guys and their attention will be occupied by those two."
Frazier praised McNabb as a "tremendous person, tremendous competitor" and said the six-time Pro Bowl selection didn't mention retirement in their conversation.
Asked if he thinks McNabb has a future in the NFL, Frazier said, "I do. I think he can still play. In the right situation I think he can still play -- if he chooses, if he wants to play again. I'm not sure that's what he wants to do, but I think he could."
McNabb's release means Webb becomes the No. 2 quarterback, which could impact any plans the Vikings have for giving Webb an extended look at receiver.
"We'll still talk about and discuss what's the best way to use him," Frazier said of Webb. "He has some talents we'd like to display, but the fact that he's in the No. 2 spot does alter your thinking a little bit."
Musgrave said Webb playing receiver remains a work in progress.
"His limitations would be just from lack of time on task," Musgrave said. "He did play wide receiver the one year at UAB, but since he's been here, it has really been a concentration on the quarterback position.
"We'll have Joe in for certain plays, and we'll also try to let him do what he can do but at the same time not put in him harm's way because we feel great about his future as a quarterback on this team as well."
Man in the middle
With E.J. Henderson continuing to sit out of practice Thursday because of a shoulder injury, it appears the veteran might not play Sunday.
If that's the case, defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said Xavier Adibi will be the middle linebacker in base defense and Erin Henderson will take that role in the nickel package when five defensive backs are on the field.
The Vikings claimed Adibi on waivers just before the regular season after he was let go by Houston. Adibi has been active for three games this season and appeared in two.
Henderson has not missed a game despite battling swelling in his knee for much of the year.
Linebacker Erin Henderson (hamstring), safety Jamarca Sanford (shoulder) and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring) all remained on the injury report but did not miss any practice time for a second consecutive day.
But special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said on Thursday he believes Falcons receiver Kerry Meier was just doing his job when he decked Loeffler about 10 yards away from the ball on a punt in Sunday's game.
"It was an unfortunate situation and got one of our guys hurt," Priefer said. "I would hate it that it happened to one of their guys, too. (Meier) did kind of weave through, but that was probably his assignment, to be honest with you. Even though he's away from the ball, that's part of the deal."
Kluwe spoke out on Twitter after seeing his friend's injury on tape, writing of Meier, "I hope(s) someone does the same (expletive) to you and knocks you out for the rest of the year too" in the first of a series of tweets that received an unfavorable response from Falcons fans.
"I love the fact that Chris is defending one of our players -- which he should, because they're friends and they've been working together for a long time," Priefer said. "Obviously, anybody gets hurt that you care about, you're going to be a little frustrated about that."
• Defensive end Jared Allen did not practice Thursday because he was attending to an issue with his family.
• As of Thursday morning, Peterson was fifth overall in Pro Bowl fan balloting with 680,428 votes. Jared Allen led all NFC defensive ends with 488,239 votes. Voting ends on Dec. 19. Fan balloting makes up one-third of the selection process, along with voting by coaches and players.
• Kluwe gave up No. 5 for McNabb before the season, switching to No. 4. Kluwe explained on Twitter that he wants his old number back but will have to wait two years to switch because of an NFL rule.
• Broncos standout rookie linebacker Von Miller (thumb) did not practice for the second day in a row Thursday and there is some feeling he won't play Sunday. Running back Willis McGahee (illness) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) were limited one day after being held out. Safety David Bruton (Achilles') and tight end Daniel Fells (hand) were able to take part in all of practice after being limited on Wednesday.