Kevin O’Connell Highlights 2 Qualities of the New QB

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Whenever a starting quarterback goes down, the season is about to go down the toilet, especially when it is one of the better passers in the league. Kirk Cousins has proven that he is not just a good player but also a true leader and the offense’s engine. Replacing him with a fifth-round rookie or a career backup is certainly a considerable downgrade.

Kevin O’Connell Highlights 2 Qualities of the New QB

Highlights 2 Qualities Of His New Quarterback
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From the owner’s and general manager’s perspective, there are two roads they can choose. They could either ship away assets and aim for a better draft position or do what they are supposed to do with a decent team — they still try to put the best possible product on the field. The only restriction is that they shouldn’t mortgage too many future assets (draft picks) for that product to balance their approach — the competitive rebuild.

The Vikings opted for the latter, giving their team a chance to show they are good enough to win even without Cousins, although it certainly didn’t get any easier. Jaren Hall was the only quarterback on the roster Tuesday morning, with Nick Mullens on IR with a back injury. Sean Mannion is on the practice squad and might function as the backup on Sunday.

But the organization had to make a move as Mannion isn’t a solid fallback option in case of either injury or just bad performance, so they made some calls at the trade deadline and ultimately acquired Joshua Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals. Dobbs, 28, started in place of the injured star QB Kyler Murray and played well considering his status as a backup and the suspect personnel, keeping the 1-7 Cardinals in more games than they were supposed to be in.

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Head coach Kevin O’Connell has three options once Mullens returns from IR. Hall and Mullens have one advantage over Dobbs — they are familiar with the playbook, the offense in general, and the teammates. However, O’Connell spoke about Dobbs at his Tuesday presser, and he mentioned a couple of intriguing qualities.

Josh gives us an experienced player who’s started some games, not only this year but last, has played some good football against some of the best defenses in the league, and found ways to move the ball. Brings a level of athleticism to go along with great football intelligence, a smart player. Have always loved his makeup and what he is all about. He has played in a variety of different offenses and I know he’s excited to get going here.

Kevin O’Connell

He praised Dobbs’ athleticism, and indeed, the new acquisition is a mobile quarterback with the ability to make defense pay by using his legs. He rushed for 258 yards and three touchdowns through eight games this season. His average of 5.5 yards per rush is also a pretty good number, just like the 19 rushes for a new first down, five more than Alexander Mattison recorded in the 2023 campaign.

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In his final three college seasons at Tennessee, Dobbs rushed for a total of 31 touchdowns and logged almost 2,000 yards on the ground. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds. It is something the Vikings haven’t had in quite a while, as neither Cousins, Sam Bradford, nor Case Keenum were real threats in that regard.

The second aspect O’Connell emphasized was his football intelligence. The signal-caller was signed off Detroit’s practice squad last year on December 21 when Ryan Tannehill got hurt, and just eight days later, he started over rookie Malik Willis against the Dallas Cowboys. He threw for 232 yards and had one touchdown and one interception in the expected loss.

On August 24, the Browns traded him to the Cardinals after their rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson exploded in the preseason. Dobbs started less than three weeks later in the season opener. Both of these situations are similar to what the Vikings need. They need someone who can get familiar with the offense within a week or two, and Dobbs is that guy.

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Outside of the football field, his intelligence is also well-documented. Dobbs majored in aerospace engineering with a perfect 4.0 grade and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Hall has been named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, but barring an unforeseen masterclass from the rookie, Dobbs should be considered the best option for the Vikings sooner rather than later. O’Connell also mentioned that he hopes Hall will do a great job but also prepares Dobbs as if he is only one snap away from entering the game but is also a candidate to play in the future.

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