The Case for Nick Mullens after Vikings’ Bye

QB for Cincinnati
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The Minnesota Vikings have 11 days until their next game, enjoying a bye week and then heading to Las Vegas for a date with the Raiders. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson will return after a seven-game absence, and the club must finish the next five games with a 3-2 record to reach the playoffs. A record worse than 3-2 will require players, coaches, and fans to watch opposing teams’ box scores.

The Case for Nick Mullens after Vikings’ Bye

Quarterback Josh Dobbs produced an awful performance on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, with four turnovers directly causing a 12-10 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Case for Nick
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“I think the quarterback position needs to be evaluated to see what gives us the best chance to win. I don’t think there’s any particular timeline,” head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters on Tuesday.

Ergo, there’s a real chance Dobbs could be benched, and if so, this is the case for Nick Mullens.

His Job to Begin With

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When Week 1 kicked off in September, Mullens would’ve taken the baton if something happened to Kirk Cousins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the following week at the Philadelphia Eagles. There was no mystery about this. The Vikings wanted Mullens as QB2 as the original plan.

Yet, the 28-year-old was beset by a back injury and hit injured reserve like Justin Jefferson, Marcus Davenport, Jordan Hicks, etc.

Then, rookie Jaren Hall was the next man up, and Dobbs arrived for depth via trade. Because of the rollercoaster developments in the last two months, Mullens feels like an outsider to play QB1, and that really shouldn’t be the case at all.

In fact, he should have the strongest argument for QB2 of all three men (himself, Dobbs, Hall).

Most Similar to Cousins

What if a Kirk Cousins
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If head coach Kevin O’Connell wants to engineer most of his playbook from the season’s onset, Mullens is the guy to do it.

He doesn’t use his legs like Dobbs — he has negative three rushing yards in his whole career — and Cousins is actually more mobile than Mullens, if that can believed.

However, Mullens can fling it. He isn’t as accurate as Cousins — few are — but his toolkit is living in the pocket while delivering dimes to players like Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison. That’s what he does.

Minnesota entered this season with a gameplan scripted around a pocket passer in Cousins. Mullens is diet Cousins.

Fewer Turnovers than Dobbs

Explained: The Nick Mullens Trade Represents the New Way vs. Old Way for Vikings
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Mullens turns the football over somewhat frequently — but not like the Dobbs lalapalooza.

These are the interceptions + fumbles per start numbers from Cousins, Mullens, and Dobbs during their respective careers:

INTs + Fumbles Per Start,
Career:

Kirk Cousins = 1.35
Nick Mullens = 1.58
Joshua Dobbs = 2.07

Scaled to a 17-game season:

Kirk Cousins = 22.9
Nick Mullens = 26.8
Joshua Dobbs = 35.1

For perspective on the interceptions + fumbles per start metric, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 1.05 per start in his career.

Mullens certainly doesn’t protect the rock at an elite level or anywhere close to it, but he’s safer than Dobbs by a mile.


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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