The Vikings Have the Best Kind of Problem around the Bend

Strange Comment
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have won five consecutive games with two starting quarterbacks — well, technically three — and possess an 86.4% probability of reaching the playoffs, per ESPN’s Power Football Index.

And that was after the club started the season 1-4 with some fringe voices tossing head coach Kevin O’Connell on the hot seat.

The Vikings Have the Best Kind of Problem around the Bend

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah acquired quarterback Josh Dobbs via trade on Halloween, his second major trade on the deadline day in two years. In 2022, the transaction involved T.J. Hockenson, and Dobbs strutted onto the team this year.

Meanwhile, with quarterback Kirk Cousins injured for the rest of the season and scheduled to hit free agency in March, the Vikings now have a good problem around the bend — too many wise QB options for 2024 and beyond.

The Case for Kirk Cousins

Best Kind of Problem
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.

It might feel like a lifetime ago, but Kirk Cousins was performing wonderfully about three weeks ago. He has served as the steady force on the Vikings roster, ranking near the top of the league in passing yards and touchdowns.

But in an almost criminal twist of fate, he won’t be around the rest of the way in 2023 to experience the Vikings defensive renaissance or suddenly elite pass-protecting offensive line.

When Cousins pulls up a chair at the negotiation table in February or March, he’ll ask for his typical $35-$50 million per season. Before Josh Dobbs emerged, the Vikings seemed content to possibly oblige the asking price.

But why would Minnesota want Cousins back at a huge pricepoint if Kevin O’Connell’s system, by that time, had evolved to the point where any good quarterback could make the offense hum? Retaining Dobbs for less money or “drafting the next guy” may feel wiser, given the circumstance that unfolded without Cousins in the final months of the 2023 season.

Regardless, having someone as productive as Cousins in the mix as QB1 in 2024 is not bad news. It’s a luxury.

The Case for Josh Dobbs

Take Pressure off Josh
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Mobile as hell, Dobbs has created sudden optimism regarding the Vikings 2023 campaign, so much so that he feels like Case Keenum reincarnated from 2017 — and maybe even better.

The man is a wizard dancing away from pocket pressure, and the Vikings did not employ a wizard in Cousins in that respect. Dobbs isn’t as accurate as Cousins — few are — but he more than compensates for his less-than-Cousins accuracy with his legs.

Then, if Minnesota wants Dobbs back in 2024, he won’t cost anywhere near Cousins’ fee. Dobbs will probably fetch a contract in Minnesota or elsewhere akin to Geno Smith’s — three years and $50-75 million.

In theory, the Vikings could sign Dobbs for “cheap” and see how long his Cinderella run persists.

The Upcoming Draft Thick with QBs

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That’s not all.

The upcoming draft — less than six months away — is stuffed to the gills with upper-echelon and intriguing quarterback prospects. Some draft heads say that every year, but this go-round, it’s actually true.

Minnesota won’t land Caleb Williams or Drake Maye without an earth-shattering trade, but men like Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Jayden Daniels (LSU), among others, will be available.

If O’Connell is truly a quarterback whisperer, the smartest choice may be drafting a rookie quarterback and retaining Cousins or Dobbs for one more year.

What about Jaren Hall?

Feel for Jaren
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings quarterback plans have temporarily orphaned Jaren Hall, and it’s not his fault. He was concussed eight days ago in his first NFL start and frankly played quite well for a drive before the regrettable injury.

The “problem” with sizing up Hall is that no Vikings fan knows for sure if the franchise views him as an eventual QB1 or just a decent QB2. However, a week and a half ago, purple fans envisioned Hall as the great young hope.

There’s a world where Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell “secretly” believe Hall is the quarterback of the future.

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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).

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