Why Sunday’s Game Felt So Different for Vikings

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) runs the ball against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Did something feel strange about the Minnesota Vikings game last weekend?

Your trusty eye test checked out.

Why Sunday’s Game Felt So Different for Vikings

At the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, newcomer Josh Dobbs became the first Vikings quarterback in over a decade to rush for 50+ yards in a game — if that can be believed.

Josh Dobbs Has One
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) calls a play against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Dobbs gashed the Falcons sturdy run defense for 66 yards and a touchdown, marking the first time a Vikings passer has rushed for 50 or more yards in a game since the 2012 playoffs. In that game, Joe Webb [somewhat] unexpectedly started, rushed for 68 yards, and Minnesota lost to the Green Bay Packers 24-10, ending Adrian Peterson’s MVP dream season.

Moreover, Dobbs became the first Vikings QB in 20 years to tally 50+ rushing yards in a winning effort. Before that, it was Daunte Culpepper on September 7th, 2003. Between that Culpepper game in 2003 and Dobbs on Sunday, Vikings QBs rushed for 50+ yards seven times — all losses.

Game Felt So Different
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) celebrates with quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) after a touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Dobbs joined the Vikings eight days ago at the NFL’s trade deadline, shipped from the Arizona Cardinals to the Vikings along with a 7th-Round draft pick for a 6th-Rounder to the desert. For at least a week — and probably longer — the trade was worth it.

The veteran passer was nominated for QB2 duty on the depth chart heading into Week 9, available if something happened to rookie quarterback Jaren Hall. Almost right away, Hall was injured with a concussion, and Dobbs was thrust into action. After a topsy-turvy affair, Minnesota prevailed 31-28, thanks to a game-winning drive from Dobbs, propelling the Vikings to a 5-4 record and driver’s seat placement in the NFC’s playoff picture.

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Even weirder, Dobbs wasn’t even remotely prepared for the event, at least not compared to what a normal NFL quarterback might undergo leading into a game. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis tweeted after Minnesota’s win, “Unbelievable. Josh Dobbs said that Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell was essentially translating calls and mapping out plays mid-huddle, as the play clock was ticking down. KOC called Dobbs’ ability to handle it all one of the most impressive things he’d seen in his career.”

All told, Dobbs posted 158 passing yards on 20 for 30 completions versus attempts, the aforementioned 66 rushing yards, 3 total touchdowns, three fumbles, and a safety. His afternoon absolutely was not immaculate — no one expected such — but with two minutes remaining in the game and trailing by four points, Dobbs marched his Vikings 75 yards in one minute and 46 seconds.

Are the Vikings Being Slept On?
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Between Culpepper 20 years ago and Dobbs last weekend, Vikings quarterbacks like Tarvaris Jackson, Christian Ponder, and Joe Webb used their legs to create positive plays. Yet, for some reason, the games with 50+ rushing yards by a quarterback resulted in losses. With Dobbs in the saddle against the Falcons, the Vikings got off the schneid in riding a mobile passer to victory.

They don’t call him Josh Dubs for nothin’.


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.

Share: