He and his new teammates are in much the same boat – looking ahead to what might be instead of dwelling on the disappointment of last year.
"There's a lot that I took from last year, a lot that I learned," McNabb said. "Still, you put that behind you and move on. This is a new day. A new year. You always forget about what happened last year unless you won the Super Bowl. That means a lot of other teams aren't happy about the way things went last year. This is an exciting year for me. I'm looking forward to it and good things will happen."
He learned a hard reality lesson over the last year. Much like what happened with the Vikings' last veteran QB import, Brett Favre, his McNabb's breakup with the team he spent his entire starting career with was due to the organization's wish to promote a young-up-and-comer. The youngsters were Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and Kevin Kolb in Philadelphia. McNabb knew he might end up bouncing around the league if he wanted to keep playing, like Favre did by going to the Jets before coming to Minnesota.
He signed a one-year deal with the Vikings and said he didn't see that as a slight to his ability. He reminded the media of the five-year, $78 million contract extension he signed with the Redskins just last November. Anything beyond guaranteed money in a contract is at the discretion the organization to honor, which doesn't always happen.
"Every year you play is a one-year contract, no matter what you sign for because you have to go and compete at a high level," McNabb said. "You see that last year. I extended my contract and you see what happened then. I don't even look at it that way, though. This is year 13 for me. Every year is important. I look forward to coming out this year and playing the way that I know I can play. Everything else will take care of itself."
McNabb doesn't believe his one-year, team-friendly contract should be an issue. Like Favre, he didn't come to Minnesota for the money or to add to his legacy. Both carved their niche in the history of the game and, like No. 4 before him, No. 5 said he is with the Vikings for the same reason Favre wanted to keep playing.
"It's about winning for me," McNabb said. "It's not about the money. It's not about the fame and fortune. It's never been about the fame for me. I'm about winning. I've been involved with a winning organization for 11 years and this organization is very similar."
McNabb finished his first training camp with the Vikings after taking part in just seven full practices. He said coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense is coming together, as players like Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and others meld with a new offensive vision and a new quarterback running the offense.
"We've been making a lot of plays on the offensive side, now we really just can't wait until game situations and get adjusted to that mode – how Bill is going to prepare each week, play-calling and things of that nature," McNabb said. "This is the exciting time we've all been waiting for during the lockout – of when it was actually going to happen – and now that we're here, we're all very excited."
McNabb said the biggest hurdle the Vikings of 2011 face is that they have a new head coach, a new offense and a much different roster than the team had in 2010. Combine those details with a lockout that prevented players like McNabb from working with his new teammates and installing the offense through repetition and the Vikings have work left to do in the coming weeks.
The time frame has been short, but McNabb said he is impressed with the extra work everyone has been putting in.
"It's been challenging, but I think the fact that guys have really been helping each other out – guys have been spending time studying all night, coming our here and you really see they have spent some time," McNabb said. "Just how fast they've been able to grasp the offense and Bill has been excited as far as our knowledge of what he's been teaching us. But we still have to put it together. We've been able to execute a lot of different plays and concepts which he's installed each day and we're going to continue to get better."
Although chemistry can't be created through trades or free agency – either a team gels or it doesn't – McNabb said he really likes the atmosphere in the Vikings locker room and said the players are a little "goofy" but added that, when it comes time to get to work, the Vikings are all business – creating spirited competition among the players. "It's been hot, it's really been hot," McNabb said of the competition between players. "There's some trash talking going on the field as well as off the field. During install or during group [drills], guys have been in the right positions and doing the right things. We've been very excited with the way that things have been going. We're getting the best out of each other we're going to only get better."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.