Reporting John Lauritsen
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MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota Vikings fans finally got their first real look at new quarterback Donovan McNabb Thursday afternoon as he hit the practice field for the first time.
McNabb and the team’s other signed free agents were allowed to practice after the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement got ratified and became official Thursday afternoon.
After watching practice, some fans were thinking playoffs, and others weren’t so sure. But as he walked into his first full-pad practice, fans definitely let him know he was welcome.
“I wanted him here last year so I’m happy,” said one fan.
“It’s about time. They’ve been talking about it forever but we’re glad to have him here,” another fan said.
McNabb spent the start of his first practice as an observer, watching back-ups Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar go through drills. But then he got involved, and after just a few passes fans couldn’t help but make a few playoff predictions.
That included 11-year-old Caleb Jones, who got his pennant signed by McNabb.
“I think he’s going to have a successful year and probably get into the playoffs,” Jones said.
“I think this year with McNabb, I think I see playoffs. I don’t think we’ll win the division, but I think we can get the wild card,” said Jared Tibbetts.
Some others aren’t quite as optimistic. As fan-friendly as No. 5 has been, Ben Kitograd thinks there are too many question marks on this football team.
“Just in terms of everything else that’s going on, losing Sidney Rice and Bryant McKinnie getting cut, there’s a lot more to dread than to be celebrating,” Kitograd said.
The stands were nearly full as McNabb took the field on Thursday. That makes one thing certain: People are excited and ready for football season.