All 3 Starting QB Candidates Have Pros and Cons for Vikings

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Just over two weeks ago, the Vikings were in a great position in the NFC playoff picture with a solid 6-4 record and had the advantage of multiple tiebreakers. The purple team is in trouble after two losses and the success of other playoff contenders, especially because Minnesota’s quarterback position is a mystery sans Kirk Cousins. The Week 14 starter has not been announced.

All 3 Starting QB Candidates Have Pros and Cons for Vikings

Kevin O’Connell’s decision is the main subject in the Vikings’ orbit. He can choose between three guys. None of them is an obvious choice, and there is a reason why neither is a starter in the NFL.

Joshua Dobbs

The man who has started the last three contests after taking over in the previous game in a heroic fashion is in jeopardy of losing his job. Four interceptions against Chicago came just one week after he had three fumbles (one lost) and an interception in Denver. His stat sheet shows five interceptions and six fumbles in just 15 quarters as Minnesota’s signal caller.

All 3 Starting QB Candidates Have Pros and Cons
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Turnovers have killed O’Connell’s team all season, and Dobbs can’t get out of his way to commit them. Turnovers are the sole reason if the Vikings pull the trigger to make another change under center. However, there is a reason why the Vikings might eventually stick with the Passtronaut. His high-end play on tape is the best of the group.

Making plays happen after scrambling out of the pocket in Patrick Mahomes backyard football style was the reason why the Vikings pulled off the victories over the Falcons and the Saints and he continued to produce those highlight plays in Denver.

He might not light up teams from the pocket, and KOC certainly would have to adjust his offense to Dobbs’ strengths. He has shown the ability to lead an explosive offense, something the team needs to be a serious threat in a potential playoff matchup. Dobbs has scored eight touchdowns in four games, and three of them came on the ground and wiggled out of collapsing pockets and broken plays countless times.

One Clue Why
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The former Tennessee Volunteer has put some fantastic play on tape that could earn him a starting job in the upcoming offseason, but he has also made some mind-boggling mistakes lately, which is why there is a controversy. He opened the door for his backups.

Nick Mullens

Another veteran, Nick Mullens has plenty of experience in the NFL after starting 17 career games and throwing 655 passes. Most of his snaps came in San Francisco, with Kyle Shanahan calling the plays. He had some great moments, like throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first start, a primetime win against John Gruden’s Oakland Raiders in 2018.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Why would he be the choice? Well, he is familiar with the system as he is in the second season with the Vikes. He also has enough experience, which should help him take care of the football, although he has thrown 23 picks with an interception percentage higher than Jameis Winston’s career number.

Mullens is not the prototypical cautious backup quarterback. He can be a gunslinger under center and will make throws to his wideouts and give Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison a chance to make plays. The problem is that his arm talent is limited, and there will also be opportunities for defensive backs. In addition to that, he is a pocket passer and doesn’t offer Dobbs’ skillset as a scrambler and runner.

The 28-year-old is probably a safer bet than Dobbs but doesn’t have his physical upside. On the flip side, he is familiar with the offense, has starting experience in the league, and his play style fits the offense O’Connell ran with Cousins under center.

Jaren Hall

Most expected the Vikings to be in the market for a quarterback in April’s draft. They didn’t make the call early, as the top three went off the board within the first four picks, but they also passed on Will Levis and Hendon Hooker. Instead, they chose Jaren Hall in the fifth round.

Feel for Jaren
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Hall’s floor was never in doubt as an older prospect coming out of BYU, but his ceiling was questioned. Standing six feet tall, Hall is a mobile quarterback, although he doesn’t want to be a running threat and prefers to be a scrambling passer. Extending plays with his legs to give himself more time to find a receiver is a skill he provides, as well as good touch on throws.

He put all of that on display in his opportunity to start in Week 9 but lasted only one quarter because of a concussion. It should, however, be noted that his NFL experience was mostly scripted plays that had been rehearsed all week rather than a full playbook. It remains to be seen if that was a normal game for Hall or looked unusually good because O’Connell is good at his job.

At the end of the day, Hall is a rookie, and those are unpredictable and erratic. Can he lead the offense for a full game, and does he have command over the operation to the point he can be trusted under center? Is he the average mistake-prone late-round rookie, or does his exceptional poise make him a viable option? Well, only O’Connell can answer that. He and his coaching staff work with him daily and know him better than anyone else.


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

Share: