The Week Is Somehow Getting Worse for Joshua Dobbs

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The fairytale is over for Joshua Dobbs and the Minnesota Vikings. He came out of nowhere and miraculously played at an extremely high level for a couple of games, pulling off two unlikely upsets to keep the season alive and becoming one of the best stories of the NFL season. A lot has changed since then.

The Week Is Somehow Getting Worse for Joshua Dobbs

The electric play filled with highlights was wonderful to watch, but it disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Some disastrous games, starting with an abysmal second half and a failed game-winning drive attempt in Denver, followed by a four-interception performance against the Bears and a shutout against the Raiders, were enough to bench him.

The Week Is Somehow Getting Worse for Joshua Dobbs
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As the Vikings announced on Tuesday, Nick Mullens will take over the starting duties — an expected move after he led the team to its only score on Sunday. The veteran backup has plenty of experience as a starter in the league and also in the system and should be able to run it more efficiently than Dobbs did, although he is not as physically gifted. Familiarity is a huge advantage for a quarterback.

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But that wasn’t the only bad news for Dobbs, who has been on the wrong side of job decisions multiple times in his NFL career. The NFC Offensive Player of the Week from just over a month ago wasn’t just demoted to backup. He will be the emergency quarterback in Cincinnati behind rookie Jaren Hall, named the new backup quarterback.

There is a good chance Dobbs has already played his last down as a Minnesota Viking, although injuries and bad play from backup quarterbacks can never be ruled out. Head coach Kevin O’Connell spoke about that decision on Thursday:

I just think Jaren is fully healthy now and has really gotten back on the grass and has worked through his continued development and I wanted him to really go about the week this week kind of simulating as if he playing, just using it as a real tool for his development and growth. He has done a nice job and I just wanted to go about it that way.

Josh Dobbs will be ready to play like he has to help us go 3-2 over the last five. I mean, he came into the game with way less work than he had this week against Atlanta and led us to a victory so (I have) tons of confidence in all three guys. I know our entire offensive group feels that way. We feel fortunate having lost Kirk to have that kind of depth that we do in that room.

Kevin O’Connell

The typical coach presser to even make bad news sound good was in full effect in this case. If the team had confidence in Dobbs, they wouldn’t demote him for now, just one but two spots.

Feel for Jaren
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Hall has been excellent in his second drive in Atlanta and has shown real growth compared to his subpar play in the preseason. The Vikings still understandably want to start the veteran, as the team is still in playoff contention.

Regardless of who is under center, the offense must produce more to help the team win. At some point, an opponent will be good enough on offense to take advantage of some of the extreme defensive tendencies that have been working really well, and the offense must go head-to-head with those units. Scoring 13 points combined in the last two contests is not a sustainable approach to winning games.

HC Explains QB
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Mullens has a gunslinger mentality. He will give his receivers chances, but some will also be chances for the defense to make plays. Hall has looked fine in his lone quarter of play in Atlanta. The Vikings will lean on those two to lead the offense in the upcoming games.

Dobbs couldn’t take advantage of the tremendous chance he was given, perhaps the best chance of his career. The more he got familiar with the offense, the worse he played, which will hurt his free agency prospects.


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

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