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Updated: December 1st, 2011 12:56pm
It's over: Six weeks after benching him, Vikings waive Donovan McNabb

It's over: Six weeks after benching him, Vikings waive Donovan McNabb

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Donovan McNabb is on his way out of Minnesota.

The Vikings agreed to waive the veteran quarterback on Thursday, coach Leslie Frazier confirmed after practice. Multiple reports said the decision came after a request from McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith.

The move comes a little more than six weeks after rookie Christian Ponder replaced McNabb as the Vikings' starter and one week after the Denver Broncos complied with a similar request to cut quarterback Kyle Orton, who was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs.

If a team claims McNabb -- who was still in the locker room less than an hour before word surfaced of the move -- the Vikings would be off the hook for the remaining five weeks of his $5.05 million, worth about $1,485,294.

The most logical landing spot may be with McNabb's hometown Chicago Bears, who are facing the possibility of continuing their playoff push with Caleb Hanie after starter Jay Cutler underwent thumb surgery that could end his season.

The question is, would the Bears even consider McNabb an upgrade? And could the 35-year-old function in Mike Martz's system with little time to get up to speed?

McNabb was a resounding disappointment in six starts with the Vikings, completing 94-of-156 passes (60.3%) for 1,026 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and an 82.9 passer rating as the Vikings started 1-5. He hasn't taken a snap since Oct. 16, when Ponder replaced him in the third quarter of a blowout loss at Chicago.

The Houston Texans have lost starter Matt Schaub and top backup Matt Leinart in the past month. But they've signed Kellen Clemens and coaxed Jake Delhomme out of retirement earlier this week to back up rookie T.J. Yates, who is likely to remain the starter for now.

The only other teams to put in claims on Orton were the Bears and Dallas Cowboys, whose backup, Jon Kitna, has been nicked up and who might have been trying to block Orton from returning to Chicago.

The Cowboys currently rank 21st in the waiver priority order and the Bears rank 24th. If McNabb goes unclaimed, the Vikings would owe him one more game check because he was on the roster on Tuesday and McNabb could take one-time option for collecting the balance of his his contract because he's a vested veteran.

All players are subject to a 24-hour waiver period after the trading deadline.

The Vikings acquired McNabb from the Washington Redskins in July for a sixth-round draft pick in 2012 and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2013. He agreed to restructure his contract down to a one-year, $5.05 million deal that could have been worth up to $7.25 million with incentives.

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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