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Free Agents Can’t Practice With Teams Until August 4

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2011 – 5:54 pm

Because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) impasse this past offseason, the NFL experienced its wildest free agent frenzy of all-time. In effect, teams, players and player agents literally had three or four days to do what they normally do over the course of a couple months.

But because of a rule in the new CBA, the free agent frenzy will come to a sudden hault this week, even as all 32 training camps will have begun by Sunday evening.

The rule in the CBA prohibits players who sign new contracts from practicing with their teams until the start of the new league year, which is Thursday, August 4th. This rule even applies to a free agent who re-signs with his team and it applies to many players who were traded this offseason, including Vikings QB Donovan McNabb.

The good news is these players who are not allowed to practice until August 4 can take part in other team activities, such as position meetings. So while they won’t be on the field for a few days, they’ll still be in meetings and around the team at one of the most important parts of the season.

The rule does not apply to draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents, so those players will be able to practice as soon as their camps open.


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New NFL QB Rule Could Mean More Action For Joe Webb

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2011 – 9:49 am

With all of the Collective Bargaining Agreement news this offseason, it was easy to forget a few of the rules changes that took place in the NFL. And with the arrival of two new QBs (Donovan McNabb and Christian Ponder) in Minnesota, it was easy to forget about Joe Webb.

But these two issues are going to be important for the Vikings and Vikings fans this season.

Under old rules, NFL teams were allowed to have 45 players on their active game day roster. A 46th player was designated as the emergency or 3rd QB. If the emergency QB entered the game before the 4th quarter, then the other two QBs were disqualified.

Under the new rules, NFL teams are allowed to have 46 players on their active game day roster. In addition, the emergency QB rule is abolished, which means a team’s 3rd string QB can enter the game at any point without disqualifying the other two QBs.

This could be a big deal for the Vikings and perhaps for Webb. With McNabb now in the fold, the plan is for him to start and it’s possible that Ponder will perform well enough in training camp and the preseason to win the backup job. In this scenario, Webb would be the 3rd string QB. Under the old rules, Webb likely wouldn’t enter the game until the 4th quarter. But now, the Vikings offensive coaching staff can be creative in how they deploy Webb. He can line up at QB or WR, he can return kicks and he can run a Wildcat-type of package.

All of this is presuming quite a few things, from McNabb being named the starter and staying healthy to Ponder playing well enough to win the backup job. Remember, Webb enters training camp with a leg up on Ponder because of experience.

No matter how you slice it, though, the new QB rule is significant for the Vikings. And for the Vikings ability to get Webb and his athletic ability out on the field as often as possible.


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McNabb A Pro At Limiting Mistakes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 30, 2011 – 6:03 am

In 12 NFL seasons, QB Donovan McNabb has accumulated a lot of TD passes (230), a lot of wins (97), a lot of playoff appearances (seven) and a lot of division championships (five).

But there’s one statistic he’s been able to avoid collecting in mass – interceptions.

In fact, McNabb ranks among the NFL’s all-time best at keeping a good TD/INT ratio. He enters the 2011 season with a 2/1 margin, which is good for fourth in NFL history among QBs who’ve thrown for a minimum of 200 TDs (Tom Brady, Steve Young, Peyton Manning rank 1-3).

McNabb’s INTs relative to TD passes is impressive, and so too is his INT total relative to pass attempts. He has the third best INT% in NFL history, having thrown just 115 picks in 5,218 attempts (2.2%), which is the same percentage as Brady.


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