Donovan McNabb was officially introduced as Vikings quarterback at the team training camp in Mankato yesterday, stealing the show with his big laugh and by announcing he has "five or six more years left."
A new version of McNabb's contract, which was the sticking point in the Vikings' attempt to land the six-time Pro Bowler, has yet to be announced. The team also reached a deal with first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, who signed for a guaranteed four-year, $10 million deal announced yesterday.
If McNabb really does want to play another five years, and they all came with the Vikings, he'd outlast Ponder's entire contract. Making a joking reference to the guy he's replacing, the 34-year-old McNabb set the stage for a comeback while trying to finally kill off the ghost of Brett Favre.
"At this stage in my career, I'm not over," McNabb said. "Remember I'm just finishing following a guy who played for 30 years -- and [he's] talking about coming back. No, I'm just kidding, don't start that."
When a reporter asked McNabb how long he "realistically" wanted to play, the quarterback's answer started by rejecting the last year Favre played -- but not by much.
"Not 41 [years old]," McNabb said, laughing. "I've got kids at home, I want to take them to school at some point. I've got about five more years, five or six more years, so that puts me at 40, so be it. The whole thing about it is just playing at a high level, and still competing at this game, and I still feel like I have gas."The new quarterback seemed relaxed, and cracked jokes throughout his introduction. When a reporter called out, "Are you in shape?" McNabb -- famously, the spokesman for Chunky Soup -- said that he was.
"I would take my shirt off but I really don't want to get people excited about my results now," McNabb said. Then, with a sarcastic look at the reporter: "Great question."
Thanks to a gigantic restructuring by the Washington Redskins last year, McNabb would be due $14.75 million this year, though only $2.5 million of that was base salary, with the rest tied up in performance bonuses. The Vikings had wanted to try to cut the high-end option at least in half.
Aside from McNabb's contract numbers, another mystery is who exactly he'll be throwing the ball to. With the loss of Sidney Rice, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks last week, Minnesota's looking to fill a big -- say, 6-foot-4 -- void.
Over the weekend, reports had the Vikes pursuing the wild and wildly talented free agent Braylon Edwards, but an NFL source squelched that rumor, according to the Star Tribune. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the team still had an eye on the waiver wires to find a new receiver.
Frazier said McNabb's joining the Vikings is a signal that the team is "in the hunt."
"When we sit down and talk tonight, I'll reiterate the fact that we're not in a rebuilding mode," Frazier said. "And I don't think anyof those guys believe that anyway. They're looking forward to competing with the NFC North for a championship."