Vikings Make QB Decision a Cliffhanger

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The Minnesota Vikings have a Week 14 date at the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, and heading into Tuesday evening, the identity of the QB1 will remain unknown.

Vikings Make QB Decision a Cliffhanger

The team’s offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators spoke to the media five days before Raiders-Vikings, and OC Wes Phillips hinted the QB1 announcement would be a cliffhanger until Wednesday.

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ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted, “Vikings OC Wes Phillips said he anticipates the Vikings confirming their starting QB tomorrow, when the practice week formally begins. Kevin O’Connell said last week the Vikings would consider options beyond Josh Dobbs. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a change is coming.”

Minnesota lost Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles in late October, sidelining the passer for the rest of 2023. Because the original QB2 Nick Mullens was on injured reserve, rookie Jaren Hall took over for Cousins in Week 9, but he immediately succumbed to a concussion at the Atlanta Falcons. Head coach Kevin O’Connell then inserted Joshua Dobbs, who joined the franchise via trade five days prior, into the lineup.

Dobbs has since quarterbacked the majority of four consecutive games, and the Vikings are 2-2 in the contests.

Feel for Jaren
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But Dobbs’ astronaut lore ran out on Monday Night Football at home versus the Chicago Bears, tossing four interceptions in a game decided by two points. Minnesota lost 12-10 in Week 12, a terrible defeat that sunk playoffs odds to around 50%.

O’Connell could reasonably give Dobbs a shot at redemption this weekend, pivot to the original QB2 Mullens, or roll the dice with Hall. It’s been the topic of all Vikings-themed discussions for one week.

Fans prefer Hall, the rookie with appetizing upside.

Ex-NFL quarterback and current NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms claimed Minnesota will likely roll with Mullens. He said last week, “The way Kevin O’Connell is saying that, to me, totally points to Nick Mullens is going to be the starting quarterback if he’s totally healthy and ready to go here after the bye week. What he’s trying to say is, ‘Nick Mullens knows the offense.'”

Mullens last started a game in 2021 as a member of the Cleveland Browns, and teams led by him are 5-12 (.294) since the start of 2018.

“It’s like having a lesser Kirk Cousins out there. I feel like that’s what people think of Nick Mullens when you hear him described. He’s going to know all the checks. He can handle all the offense. He’s a solid thrower of the football. There’s no wow arm, but he controls it well. And all those signs point to: let’s put him in with Justin Jefferson because we know he can dish and deliver the ball better than Josh Dobbs,” Simms added.

a Cliffhanger
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The Vikings could’ve avoided a week-long quarterback debate among fans by confirming Dobbs as the starter after the MNF loss, but O’Connell said he needed the bye week to evaluate. So, everyone has a theory, and understandably so.

The QB cliffhanger should be over on Wednesday afternoon.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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