How Much Rapport Can Dobbs and Jefferson Show for Vikings?

Justin Jefferson insulted
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There was plenty of uncertainty heading into the bye week for the Minnesota Vikings. Coming off a terrible effort against the Chicago Bears, there was no sugarcoating how much they needed to turn things around. Now headed to Las Vegas, Josh Dobbs and Justin Jefferson are certain. How good can they be together, though?

How Much Rapport Can Dobbs and Jefferson Show for Vikings?

Justin Jefferson has been on injured reserve for the Vikings since Week 5, when he went down against the Kansas City Chiefs. He then watched from the sidelines as his quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles and was lost for the year. As Minnesota’s season teetered on the brink, a man with a 2024 contract in his sights could have called it quits.

How Much Rapport
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Then the front office swung a trade for Josh Dobbs, and he stepped up against the Atlanta Falcons to win despite being in the building for the duration of a sneeze. Dobbs took the fanbase by storm as he had the Vikings continuing on their winning streak, and it wasn’t until his horrid outing against the Bears that a change was considered.

Now confirmed as the signal caller on Sunday against the Raiders, Dobbs will have his first opportunity to work with the superstar wideout. Head coach Kevin O’Connell noted the goal would be to put a quarterback on the field that had developed chemistry with Jefferson. Despite Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall having been around longer, Dobbs has been dubbed capable of finding the wideout.

Before he went down, Jefferson had tallied at least nine targets in every game. He was held below double-digits for the first time against the Carolina Panthers, and coincidentally, that’s the only full game this year in which he didn’t put up at least 100 yards. In each of the first three weeks, Jefferson had 12, 13, and 13 targets, respectively. He went between 149-159 yards in each of those contests and jumped out to a substantial lead for receiving yardage.

Are the Vikings Being Slept On?
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In his absence, the Vikings have seen heavier doses of Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson. From a target share standpoint, it has been the tight end that has racked up opportunities. While Addison has flashed as a rookie, it’s not surprising that his opportunities would be more about quality than quantity. With Jefferson back, though, everyone should expect a drop in target share.

Regardless of a change at the quarterback position, Kevin O’Connell must figure out a way to force-feed his superstar wideout. Jefferson has been shelved for a significant portion of the season, and it doesn’t seem likely that he would return without being 100%. Taking the training wheels off from the get-go is a must, and challenging Jefferson with everything he can handle makes a good deal of sense.

Dobbs will be tasked with finding a way to improve this weekend, but O’Connell can also scheme that to happen. We have seen the mobility for Dobbs to be a true asset, and if he can get back to that style of play, the offense should benefit. The running game has been non-existent all season, and if they get some production from the quarterback in that regard, so be it.

The Great Equalizer
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Jefferson will have a dual-threat quarterback to work with for the first time in his career. Dobbs hasn’t shown the pinpoint ball placement that fans grew accustomed to with Cousins, but if there’s a talent that can rise above it, Jefferson should be of that caliber. Let’s hope the additional weeks of working together have helped and the tandem produces eye-opening results this weekend.

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.