Did We Witness History for Vikings on Sunday?

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The Minnesota Vikings came into a matchup on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons as an underdog. Replacing veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins under center would be difficult enough, but replacing his backup and winning was otherworldly.

Did We Witness History for Vikings on Sunday?

Last season, Kevin O’Connell orchestrated a comeback against the Indianapolis Colts in which his Vikings secured a victory from the largest deficit in NFL history. Kirk Cousins was astounded by the feat, asking for clarification of it being across NFL history multiple times. That result was nothing short of amazing, and it is a game that Minnesota fans will talk about for years to come.

What took place on Sunday may have been more impressive.

With the Vikings needing to figure out an option under center after losing Cousins for the season, they were left with only rookie Jaren Hall on the active roster. Journeyman veteran Sean Mannion was on the practice squad, but elevating him beyond there has been disastrous both times he has stepped in for Cousins during his career.

Did We Witness
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Although it was much earlier than anticipated, O’Connell turned to his fifth-round rookie. Hall was with the team for months, working through preparation behind Cousins, and it would be his shot. With the trade deadline on Tuesday last week, Minnesota also swung a deal for veteran Joshua Dobbs. Having started each game for the Arizona Cardinals this season, Dobbs was a proven resource that came at virtually no cost.

Dobbs wasn’t going to be an option on Sunday, though. He had just days to prepare for the game, had little knowledge of the playbook, and didn’t even know the names of his teammates. Then Hall got hurt, and it was go time.

The Vikings watched as Dobbs quickly established a cadence with his new offensive line on the sideline. He had little knowledge of the abilities of the pass catchers around him, and O’Connell would have a playbook that resulted in little more than backyard football types of options. Working through the headset to his quarterback, Minnesota’s head coach needed to help the veteran grab an unlikely win on the road.

Early on, it was expectedly ugly. Dobbs didn’t look efficient, and the Vikings could not move the football. That should hardly be unexpected given how forced the situation was, and while he wasn’t learning the level on the fly, Dobbs was thrown into a proverbial fire with temperatures hotter than anyone could imagine.

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After Minnesota’s defense gave Atlanta a late lead, Dobbs orchestrated a two-minute drill for the first time with his new team. There is just no way he had gone through that situation with Minnesota in practice this week, and Dobbs performed wonderfully. He found Jordan Addison for what may be among the best catches this season by a Vikings wideout, and he scrambled to extend the drive on his own. Dobbs took the Vikings down the field and punched the ball in the end zone to secure a victory.

With how little Dobbs knew about his team, the players around him, or the scheme that would give him certain situations, nothing about the victory was normal. Sunday’s win over Atlanta is unquestionably one of the greatest feats in football this year, and it’s not shocking that a guy as intelligent as the veteran is — was the one who made it all happen.

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From here, the Vikings have plenty of runway to keep the winning going. The schedule remains soft, and they have seen what their new quarterback can do. Execution remains key, but nothing about Sunday was normal, and calling the result special would be doing a disservice to what took place.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.