On McNabb, it's balancing caution, aggression

Donovan McNabb could be feeling a little more pressure from within the organization to open up his play. This week, head coach Leslie Frazier was among those who said you can't always play so cautiously.

The Vikings head into Sunday night's game at Chicago tied for the league lead in fewest turnovers with four.

But they're also 1-4 with an offense that generates virtually no big pass plays and actually averages more yards rushing (160) than yards passing (155.8).

So while coach Leslie Frazier is happy that quarterback Donovan McNabb has only two interceptions, he's also talked to the 13-year veteran about the need to be more aggressive and take more chances down the field.

"He's done a great job of not turning the ball over, which is a big deal because of the way we play," Frazier said Wednesday. "It's a plus for us. It's one of the reasons we've been in these games the way we have.

"But you can't play this game cautious. He knows that. He's had a ton of success in this league. Sometimes, you just got to let it go. And he will, and he has."

McNabb's inaccuracy has been an issue all season. He's completing only 56.8 percent of his passes, which is weighing down an offense that desperately needs some balance to keep defenses from ganging up on running back Adrian Peterson with eight- and nine-man fronts.

McNabb is particularly inaccurate inside the pocket and on third downs, where he's completing only 39 percent of his passes. But playing it safe -- too safe -- has allowed him to throw twice as many TDs (four) as INTs (two) while maintaining a respectable 80.0 passer rating.

McNabb also has a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (234-117) for his career. But he's also just a 58.9 percent career passer despite having played most of his 13 seasons in a West Coast system that typically asks quarterbacks to shoot for a completion percentage of 65 or better.

All of this adds up to a strange situation at Winter Park, where Brett Favre spent the final two seasons of a 20-year career that included everything but being too cautious with the football. Favre's successor had to defend why he's so careful with the football at times.

"You stay aggressive, but you got to be smart with the ball," McNabb said. "At this position, you have to manage the game. When you have a running back like Adrian (Peterson) and tight ends like we have, you have to manage the game.

"Doing the right thing with the ball. If you have an opportunity for a touchdown, you take it. If it's one that could go either way, maybe sometimes it's smart to check the ball down or get it to your second or third reads and let those guys run with it."

However he does it, McNabb needs to jumpstart the passing game sooner than later. Adrian Peterson has averaged 112 yards in seven meetings with the Bears, including a 224-yard performance as a rookie in 2007 in Chicago. But the All-Pro back needs some balance in the offense to give him a better chance for another big game in Chicago.

SERIES HISTORY: 100th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 52-45-2. The Vikings are 21-25-2 on the road in the regular season, including 1-9 in the past 10 years. The teams also met once in a 1994 NFC Wild Card game, with the Bears winning 35-18 at the Metrodome.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" The Vikings head into Sunday night's game at Chicago tied for the league lead in fewest turnovers with four. But they're also 1-4 with an offense that generates virtually no big pass plays and actually averages more yards rushing (160) than yards passing (155.8). So while coach Leslie Frazier is happy that quarterback Donovan McNabb has only two interceptions, he's also talked to the 13-year veteran about the need to be more aggressive and take more chances down the field. \"He's done a great job of not turning the ball over, which is a big deal because of the way we play,\" Frazier said Wednesday. \"It's a plus for us. It's one of the reasons we've been in these games the way we have. \"But you can't play this game cautious. He knows that. He's had a ton of success in this league. Sometimes, you just got to let it go. And he will, and he has.\" McNabb's inaccuracy has been an issue all season. He's completing only 56.8 percent of his passes, which is weighing down an offense that desperately needs some balance to keep defenses from ganging up on running back Adrian Peterson with eight- and nine-man fronts. McNabb is particularly inaccurate inside the pocket and on third downs, where he's completing only 39 percent of his passes. But playing it safe -- too safe -- has allowed him to throw twice as many TDs (four) as INTs (two) while maintaining a respectable 80.0 passer rating. McNabb also has a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (234-117) for his career. But he's also just a 58.9 percent career passer despite having played most of his 13 seasons in a West Coast system that typically asks quarterbacks to shoot for a completion percentage of 65 or better. All of this adds up to a strange situation at Winter Park, where Brett Favre spent the final two seasons of a 20-year career that included everything but being too cautious with the football. Favre's successor had to defend why he's so careful with the football at times. \"You stay aggressive, but you got to be smart with the ball,\" McNabb said. \"At this position, you have to manage the game. When you have a running back like Adrian (Peterson) and tight ends like we have, you have to manage the game. \"Doing the right thing with the ball. If you have an opportunity for a touchdown, you take it. If it's one that could go either way, maybe sometimes it's smart to check the ball down or get it to your second or third reads and let those guys run with it.\" However he does it, McNabb needs to jumpstart the passing game sooner than later. Adrian Peterson has averaged 112 yards in seven meetings with the Bears, including a 224-yard performance as a rookie in 2007 in Chicago. But the All-Pro back needs some balance in the offense to give him a better chance for another big game in Chicago. SERIES HISTORY: 100th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 52-45-2. The Vikings are 21-25-2 on the road in the regular season, including 1-9 in the past 10 years. The teams also met once in a 1994 NFC Wild Card game, with the Bears winning 35-18 at the Metrodome. 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