Pressure on Vikes, McNabb

Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb passes against the Chargers in San Diego, Calif., Sep. 11, 2011....

Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb passes against the Chargers in San Diego, Calif., Sep. 11, 2011. (MIKE BLAKE/Reuters)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:02 PM ET

TORONTO - Old quarterbacks never die, anymore.

They just go to Minnesota.

Last year, Brett Favre led the Vikings into a dark netherworld and it looks like Donovan McNabb may take them down with him this year.

There are eerie similarities — right down to the team’s off-the-field legal issues — although Tyrell Johnson’s arrest for drunk driving doesn’t have nearly the lusty intrigue of Favre’s did-he-or-didn’t-he photo trysts.

The Vikings are winless in their first two games and this weekend face the undefeated Detroit Lions. What has to be most disconcerting for the Vikes is that they have been bad on both sides of the ball. They squandered consecutive second-half leads in both defeats, being outscored 41-3 combined by San Diego and Tampa Bay.

The offence has three points, 140 yards and 10 first downs during 60 minutes of second-half play — and 69 of those yards came on one freakishly good drive.

While there isn’t much he can do about defence, McNabb was brought in to lead an offence that still dared to mouth Super Bowl aspirations this off-season, despite all that negativity brought on by the sad, final days of the Favre era.

“When you’re 0-2, there’s no need to panic,” McNabb told Minnesota reporters this week, after a team meeting. “But there is a sense of urgency that needs to take place and we will get that going as the week goes on in practice. It’s a must-win situation.”

One of the biggest problems has been McNabb, who started 0-2 with Philadelphia in 2003 and rallied the Eagles to the NFC championship game.

“No one wants to hear about what I did back in Philly,” McNabb told the local Pioneer Press. “I don’t even want to hear about what happened in Philly. But I’ve been a part of (a similar revival in fortunes).”

Still, there’s no discounting that he was little help in the season opener at San Diego. Against Tampa, he completed 18 passes for 228 yards, but failed to engineer a TD drive. He is 8-for-19 combined in the second half of the two games for 77 yards.

As McNabb notes, it may not be time to panic. But one more loss against the Lions and it may — considering what Cam Newton has done with Carolina — be time to see what first-round draft pick Christian Ponder can do. After what Minnesota fans have seen recently, how bad could it get? Or, maybe, that’s not a good question to, ahem ... ponder.

THEY’RE GAME

If the game turns out as heated as the pre-game talk, this weekend’s Giants-Eagles tilt should be interesting.

Giants safety Antrel Rolle said they don’t want to hear any excuses after they put a beating on the Eagles.

“He’s just talking,” Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin told reporters. “A lot of times, when people talk, they’re either insecure or scared. You guys choose.”

HEAD COUNT

Michael Vick will have to count the stars first. But, if doctors agree he isn’t seeing any more than he should, the Eagles quarterback may be back Sunday against the Giants.

Team sources told ESPN they expect he’ll play and that Vick split snaps with backup quarterback Mike Kafka with the first-team offence in Wednesday morning’s walk-through. Vick suffered a concussion Sunday night in Philadelphia’s 35-31 loss to the Falcons.

Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder on Wednesday said Vick doesn’t have “a whole lot of concussion symptoms,” and would undergo further testing, including seeing an independent neurologist.

THE DEEP TRUTH

Tom Brady lit up one of the league’s best deep-ball pass defences in New England’s win over San Diego on the weekend.

All of which means the 2-0 Buffalo Bills will find out if they’re for real this weekend when they face the Patriots.

“I just see him controlling every aspect of the game right now,” said Bills coach Chan Gailey on Wednesday. “He controls the tempo, the protections and the routes. He checks at the right times. He’s got a great understanding of the game. You can see all the years of experience and all the years of that group working together is sort of coming together.”

Brady completed 10 of 12 passes that traveled 11 or more yards against San Diego, for 203 yards and two TDs.

QUICK HITS

Titans receiver Kenny Britt’s hamstring is bothering him again ... Colts QB Kerry Collins (shoulder) has been limited in practice. Some might suggest he’s just limited. Period ... With a 79-yard TD pass to Devery Henderson, Saints QB Drew Brees now has 12 touchdowns of 70 or more yards in his career, tied with Joe Montana for the second most since the NFL-AFL merger. Brett Favre ranks first, with 15 ... Lions kicker Jason Hanson is the NFC special-teams player of the week ... The Giants hope to have wideout Mario Manningham (concussion) back in time for Sunday’s NFC East clash with the Philadelphia Eagles ... The Patriots have placed centre Dan Koppen (broken ankle) and defensive lineman Myron Pryor (groin) on injured reserve for the season.


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