The Vikings Employ a Pro Bowl Sleeper
Seven Vikings players traveled to the Pro Bowl games early in 2023. Quarterback Kirk Cousins, wideout Justin Jefferson, tight end T.J. Hockenson, and running back Dalvin Cook were the offensive players, while the pass-rushing duo Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter met there as well. Long snapper Andrew DePaola was a first-time Pro Bowler at age 35.
The Vikings Employ a Pro Bowl Sleeper
In the current season, Hockenson and Hunter are good bets to be named Pro Bowlers as they are racking up stats like only a few others. Among others, Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw are also candidates just like Justin Jefferson, although his five missed games will hurt his chances.
But one guy who is getting some unexpected love is quarterback Joshua Dobbs. While he played well in Arizona, he was under the radar in a losing situation and entered the national spotlight once he arrived in Minnesota. Former NFL quarterback and NFL analyst David Carr thinks the veteran should get some Pro Bowl considerations and named him among his five NFC sleepers.
Kirk Cousins was putting together arguably his best campaign in Minnesota before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 8. And now Dobbs — after being traded to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” — is playing some of his best football, helping the Vikings win both of their games since the trade, once in relief and once as the starter.
Dobbs’ numbers aren’t off the charts, but he’s playing well in Kevin O’Connell’s system. Dobbs is a big reason the Vikings are the NFC’s seventh seed heading into Week 11, and if he continues playing at this level, there is a good chance Minnesota will earn a trip to the postseason for the second straight year.
Dobbs was viewed as a desperation acquisition after Cousins was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, but it turns out he is much more than that. He is not just a guy who is leading the Vikings through a lost season. He is indeed keeping them competitive in a magical run. A few days after arriving in Eagan’s practice facility, he had to replace Jaren Hall after his first career start was cut short.
Without knowing the names of many teammates or the playbook, Dobbs guided the Vikes to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Just a week later, “The Passtronaut” repeated his brilliance, marching past the New Orleans Saints.
Throughout the season, he has logged 1,995 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, and five interceptions while adding 368 rushing yards and five touchdowns. His passing numbers look like that of a low-end starter, but his work on the ground is impressive. Only Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards among QBs, and he ranks third behind Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts in rushing scores, resulting in an electric experience for Vikings’ fans.
Three quarterbacks from the NFC eventually make the trip to Las Vegas. Hurts, Jared Goff, and Dak Prescott are perhaps the front runners. However, Dobbs has been getting a lot of buzz recently, and if he keeps playing as well as he did in the last two contests while keeping his team in the playoff race, he certainly has a chance.
The last couple of weeks have been a true fairytale for the 28-year-old, and the Vikings enjoy every week of it. He is proving that he is more than a backup, and his market in free agency will be interesting whether or not Minnesota decides to bring him back.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt