The Passtronaut Makes a Promise
If only for a week, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs turned into a slightly enhanced version of 2022 Justin Fields.
Dobbs fired up a 0.075 EPA+CPOE in a Week 11 loss to the Denver Broncos, whereas in 2022, Fields notched a 0.069 via the same metric.
The Passtronaut Makes a Promise
Denver prevailed 21-20, sending the Vikings back to the drawing board and prompting fans to vehemently wish for Justin Jefferson’s imminent return. Next up for the Vikings? Fields’ Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football in six days.
In short, Dobbs performed fairly decently, notching a nifty passing touchdown to Josh Oliver and one of his customary rushing touchdowns while the team fell short in Denver by a point. But with the game on the line, Dobbs’ aeronautical heroism ran out for a week, failing to lead Minnesota down the field for a game-winning field goal. Many Vikings fans noticed the slight regression and quickly realized Dobbs wasn’t infallible.
And on Monday, the journeyman quarterback vowed to bounce back.
“Pretty cool seeing all the astronauts in the stands last night. S/o to everyone who braved the elements and rocked their best space suits. 💜 We will bounce back next week. Skol,” Dobbs tweeted on the X app.
The game marked Dobbs’ first brush with adversity as a member of the purple team, a circumstance that was destined to occur before too long. A football team can’t just barter for a basically-free backup quarterback on the trade deadline day and hope to fire off an undefeated finish to the season. That isn’t how the NFL works.
In Dobbs’ first two Vikings games, he utterly dazzled, leading Minnesota to a road win at the Atlanta Falcons the week after Kirk Cousins was injured. He did so after learning some plays five days following the trade with the Arizona Cardinals. Then, after a full week of tutelage with head coach Kevin O’Connell, Dobbs sliced and diced the New Orleans Saints’ defense to the tune of 27 points at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 10.
But at Denver on Sunday Night Football was a different story.
Denver sent defensive heat at Dobbs repeatedly — and it worked. The 28-year-old tabulated 21 yards on the ground, a reduction from 44 yards against the Saints and 66 at the Falcons. Dobbs’ strongest asset, at least after joining the Vikings midseason, is his wherewithal to use his feet and scamper for first downs. That tactic was limited in Denver.
However, the man has promised a return to glory in Week 12. The Vikings could see the road loss at the Broncos as a refocusing tool, mere days before receiving the aforementioned Jefferson back in the lineup. The reigning Offensive Player of the Year will either return in Week 12 or after the bye in Week 14.
The Vikings are favored to topple the Bears by three points on Monday and deliver on Dobbs’ bounceback promise.
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).