So, How Good Can Josh Dobbs Be?

Josh Dobbs Has One
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Twenty-eight-year-old Josh Dobbs led the Minnesota Vikings to victory last weekend, joining the team on Halloween via trade.

Vikings fans spent the early hours of Sunday afternoon wondering just who in the hell the man was, and by 3:00 pm CST, they were utterly bedazzled, with no exceptions.

So, How Good Can Josh Dobbs Be?

Dobbs completed 20 of 30 passes for 158 passing yards, plus 66 rushing yards, 3 total touchdowns, a couple of fumbles, and a safety. His 2nd Half majesty enabled Minnesota to down the Atlanta Falcons 31-28 and temporarily secure the Vikings hold on the NFC’s 7th playoff seed.

So, How Good Can Josh Dobbs Be?
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

So, how good can this dude be going forward? Here are three recognizable examples that mirror Dobbs’ style of play.

Note: Dobbs’ statistics from Week 9 were not included as that contest was not technically a “start.”

The Low End

Falcons Preview
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports.

Closest Example: Taylor Heinicke

Heinicke thru 10 Starts:
Passing Yards: 2,542
Total TDs: 16
INTs: 12
Completion %: 65.3
Passer Rating: 85.4
Rushing Yards: 292
Fumbles: 6

Dobbs thru 10 Starts:
Passing Yards: 1,980
Total TDs: 13
INTs: 7
Completion %: 62.0
Passer Rating: 79.7
Rushing Yards: 302
Fumbles: 12

Dobbs’ opponent on Sunday. Heinicke is probably the low end of Dobbs’ eventual production. Some folks — mainly sentimentalist Vikings fans — believe Heinicke is a gritty and lovable winner. In reality, he is not and only really flashes a few plays of high-end performance per game. It’s fine to like the guy, but he flatly isn’t that good — probably why the Washington Commanders were ready to be done with him after 2022.

There’s nothing wrong with Heinicke per se, but he’s just best served as a backup in the NFL. The Vikings re-affirmed that on Sunday.

Here’s the QB ELO chart comparing Dobbs’ and Heinicke’s career to date:

Right in the Middle

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Closest Example: Gardner Minshew

Minshew thru 10 Starts:
Passing Yards: 2,373
Total TDs: 14
INTs: 3
Completion %: 59.5
Passer Rating: 89.9
Rushing Yards: 287
Fumbles: 11

Dobbs thru 10 Starts:
Passing Yards: 1,980
Total TDs: 13
INTs: 7
Completion %: 62.0
Passer Rating: 79.7
Rushing Yards: 302
Fumbles: 12

Minshew may be more adventuresome than Dobbs, but then again, Minshew is more adventuresome than pretty much everybody. He’s currently the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts and will remain so for the remainder of 2023 after Anthony Richardson’s season-ending injury.

The flamboyant passer fetched global attention out of the gate in the NFL and has since settled in as a journeyman backup, playing for three teams in five seasons.

This is the QB ELO comparison:

The High End

Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair (9) scrambles out of the pocket during the game against the Jaguars at Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville Dec. 22, 2002. The Titans defeated their AFC South foe 28-10.. © George Walker IV / The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Closest Example: Steve McNair

McNair thru 10 Starts:
Passing Yards: 2,035
Total TDs: 12
INTs: 7
Completion %: 56.1
Passer Rating: 83.8
Rushing Yards: 300
Fumbles: 12

Dobbs thru 10 Starts:
Passing Yards: 1,980
Total TDs: 13
INTs: 7
Completion %: 62.0
Passer Rating: 79.7
Rushing Yards: 302
Fumbles: 12

Finally, this would be Dobbs’ peak — unless he had something totally unforeseen up his sleeve — developing into a long-term starting quarterback for the Vikings or another team. It’s a longshot for Dobbs, especially since several teams have cast him aside in the last two years. Would four NFL franchises really just be wrong about the man in the previous two years? Vikings fans can hope.

If those coaches and general managers got it wrong, Dobbs would hold a McNairish ceiling if only with a Hail Mary’s chance. It should also be noted that McNair’s stats above are from the mid-1990s, and rules weren’t as kind to offensive players 30 years ago.

Alas, though, here’s Dobbs’ QB ELO Holy Grail. The two have started similarly, but Dobbs obviously has a long way to go to effectuate the comp:


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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