If It’s Joshua Dobbs for Vikings, He Has to Run.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings welcomed the Chicago Bears to U.S. Bank Stadium. It was a game they were expected to win and one they should have. Rather than coming out on top, Josh Dobbs turned the ball over four times and watched his rocket ship plummet back to earth. If he’s getting another start, he has to run.

If It’s Joshua Dobbs for Vikings, He Has to Run.

Since Kevin O’Connell took over as the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, there has been talk of a more progressive offense. Deviating from the dated gameplans that Mike Zimmer put out, there was hope to utilize Kirk Cousins’ arm and the wide receivers around him to a greater capacity. That has been the case, but it may have tipped too far.

Dobbs for Vikings
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Although Dalvin Cook was an aging commodity last year, he had also never been less productive in a starting role. Cook struggled to rack up yards per attempt, and his overall usage trended downward despite being physically available for every game for the first time in his career. With Cook gone, Alexander Mattison was set to take over, but that transition has not gone well.

Through the first 12 games of their season, Minnesota has watched Mattison struggle to establish himself as a threat out of the backfield on a weekly basis. Holding onto a starting role largely for his pass protection, the running game has never been more stagnant. Cam Akers looked to provide a jolt but has been lost for the year. Ty Chandler hasn’t had the training wheels taken off, and Myles Gaskin hasn’t been used.

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When the Vikings needed a replacement for the injured Cousins, they acquired a dual-threat talent in Josh Dobbs. The reality is that neither of Dobbs’ threats rank much above a backup level, but using them in tandem helps to raise his overall effectiveness. While playing a terrible game on Monday night, Dobbs rushed just twice, and O’Connell never worked his legs into the gameplan.

With a poor running game in a traditional sense, there is no excuse for not using Dobbs as a runner consistently. Dobbs ran eight times each game in his first two starts for Minnesota. He had seven rushing attempts in the contest against the Falcons in which he was forced into action, and he found the end zone in all those contests. Scampering just twice for 11 yards last week, he allowed the Bears’ defense to turn him into a one-dimensional player.

Josh Dobbs Has One
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Dobbs is a passable quarterback when the things around him are going right, but his ball placement leaves enough to be desired that widening throwing lanes is a must. The game opens up substantially by putting him in motion, rolling him out, and asking him to scramble. Running was part of his plan with the Arizona Cardinals, and it was how he found early success in Minnesota.

How the Vikings will handle the quarterback position coming out of the bye week remains to be seen, but Kevin O’Connell has said it will be an open competition. Dobbs will get looks alongside Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall. Two of those three utilize their legs while on the field, and if either of them starts, that has to be part of the gameplan. Allowing Dobbs to be stationary should never happen again, and it looked like an added dynamic to the offense when he was utilized correctly.

If the answer winds up being Dobbs, he has to run.


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.

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