The Legend of Joshua Dobbs
The Minnesota Vikings entered their Week 9 contest with a 4-4 record after winning three straight games. They also were without starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, star wideout Justin Jefferson, and elite left tackle Christian Darrisaw. All of that in a crucial game on the road against the Falcons. A win significantly changes the playoff probability in a positive way.
The Legend of Joshua Dobbs
Of course, rookie Jaren Hall got the first crack at the starting job as he has been in the building since April, while veteran Joshua Dobbs was acquired on Tuesday, just a couple of hours before the trade deadline arrived. The usual great offense was expected to miss some of its explosiveness without perhaps the three most important players, and it certainly did.
Hall marched down the field on his second drive and attempted to finish a good-looking drive with a rushing touchdown. Unfortunately, he had to depart from the game after taking a huge hit. He was quickly ruled out with a concussion. Subsequently, Dobbs entered the game. The broadcast announced that running back Cam Akers was the emergency QB, a scary thought.
Dobbs only had a few days to learn the offense, an offense Cousins struggled with for months last year. And indeed, so did Dobbs. He quickly logged a fumble and a safety, which looked like a disaster. The good news? He settled down and started to get more comfortable, making plays with his arm and his legs.
A strong defensive performance and a couple of nice drives kept the Vikings in the game, but a long potential game-winning drive from the Falcons drained the clock, and they eventually had a four-point lead after a Tyler Allgeier touchdown.
With only 128 seconds left on the clock and two timeouts, head coach Kevin O’Connell had to trust his new signal-caller to throw the ball. And he did. He gave tight end T.J. Hockenson and rookie sensation Jordan Addison chances and added a phenomenal fourth-down scramble that surely looked like a sack.
Some excellent passes and runs later, Dobbs carried his team to the six-yard line and found Brandon Powell for the game-winning score with 22 seconds on the clock. The defense stopped the Taylor Heinicke desperation drive to cement a 31-28 win.
Despite the adversity of missing three star players on offense, losing the starting quarterback early in the game, having a couple of turnovers and a safety, and watching Cam Akers and K.J. Osborn depart, they found a way to come away with the victory.
Dobbs completed 20 of 30 passes for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns, adding 7 rushes for 66 yards and another score. That is certainly a game that will be talked about in years. Vikings fans will reminisce about the great Joshua Dobbs Game for decades.
The Vikes are now 5-4. If the season ended today, they would be in the postseason. Winning a chaotic game with a guy under center who just arrived a few days ago certainly made the team believe even more. Their new quarterback introduced himself to Vikings fans after the game:
It is hard to envision O’Connell making another move at quarterback and turning to Nick Mullens, who is eligible to return from IR after the game, depending on his back injury. Hall is another candidate to stick with the starting unit once he clears the concussion protocol, but Dobbs’ late-game heroics certainly earned him the job on Sunday.
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