Vikings Make Surprise QB Move

No Love for Kevin
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Not only is JoshDobbsMania on hold. It’s now a last resort.

The original QB2 to start 2023, Nick Mullens, will start Saturday at the Cincinnati Bengals, and if something happens to him injury-wise or he is benched, rookie Jaren Hall will enter the game — not Joshua Dobbs.

Vikings Make Surprise QB Move

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Thursday, two days before Bengals-Vikings, “Vikings’ HC Kevin O’Connell announced that rookie QB Jaren Hall will back up Nick Mullens on Saturday and Joshua Dobbs will serve as the emergency third QB.”

Make Surprise QB
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings acquired Dobbs on Halloween, the NFL’s trade deadline, and he took control of the offense five days later when the aforementioned Hall suffered an in-game concussion. Dobbs — rather unbelievably — led Minnesota to a narrow win at the Atlanta Falcons, enough to secure the QB1 job henceforth.

Minnesota then toppled the New Orleans Saints at home the following week, as the Vikings community and NFL, on the whole, were gripped by Dobbs’ unforeseen heroism.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

But then the luck ran out; the ride was over.

Dobbs struggled in back-to-back-to-back games versus the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, and Las Vegas Raiders, so much so that O’Connell debated a quarterback change during the team’s bye week. He ultimately landed on Dobbs for one more hurrah, and Minnesota’s offense could not generate any points during a must-win game last weekend.

Dobbs was benched, Mullens took the reins, and the Vikings bolted from Sin City with a bizarre and small 3-0 victory.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Fast forward to Thursday, and O’Connell had evidently seen enough from Dobbs in the last month to warrant a demotion. Dobbs will only play if Mullens and Hall get hurt.

O’Connell told reporters about Hall as the QB2 choice, “We wanted him to go about the week, kind of simulating if he was playing, using it as a real tool for his development.”

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings skipper was also quick to mention that Dobbs is fully ready and capable of entering the game, touting his reliability and maturity as a pro’s pro. All in all, this will be the Vikings’ quarterback pecking order for Week 15:

  • QB1: Nick Mullens
  • QB2: Jaren Hall
  • QB3: Joshua Dobbs

Regarding the purple quarterback carousel, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert published a wild stat Thursday, “The 2023 Vikings would be the first if Mullens — named the team’s starting quarterback this week by coach Kevin O’Connell — can lead them to a victory over the Bengals. If he does, the Vikings would have an excellent chance — 78.5%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index — to be the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after losing their starting quarterback for the season and rotating three other starters in their lineup so quickly after the injury.”

Minnesota, with Mullens, not Dobbs, enters the Cincinnati matchup as a three-point underdog.


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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