Vikings Name Backup Quarterback for Sunday

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The Minnesota Vikings will take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday for the first time without their leader, Kirk Cousins. His 2023 campaign ended prematurely because of a torn Achilles tendon, an unfortunate ending as he played perhaps at the highest level of his long career. As sad as the situation is, the league doesn’t pause, and the Vikings try to keep the momentum of three consecutive wins going.

Vikings Name Backup Quarterback for Sunday

Jaren Hall has been named the starter for the first game without Cousins under center. The rookie fifth-rounder has been tutored by Kevin O’Connell ever since he was drafted, and the head coach claims Hall is ready for the game, and quite frankly, he doesn’t have many other options.

Vikings Name Backup Quarterback for Sunday
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The two other available quarterbacks are Joshua Dobbs, who arrived a few days ago after the Vikings pulled the trigger and traded for the passer, and veteran Sean Mannion on the practice squad. According to O’Connell, who talked to the media on Friday, Dobbs will function as Hall’s backup on Sunday.

You can tell he has been through this before. (It is) not his first time coming in behind the other guys, just trying to absorb information. He is very intelligent, very smart, great communicator and I thought he had a good week of practice. We’re going to get some extra work in with him. He’s going to go into the game active and as the backup quarterback.

Kevin O’Connell

Dobbs was acquired via trade at the deadline on Tuesday, so he hasn’t had much time to learn the offense or get to know his teammates and coaches. The good news is that the veteran quarterback was in a similar situation twice in the last ten months.

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Tennessee signed the passer eight days before he started a game at the end of last season, and his former team, the Cardinals, traded for Dobbs at the end of training camp. Roughly two-and-a-half weeks later, Dobbs started in the season opener. In both instances, he played fine, and he didn’t look overwhelmed by the playbook or the situation.

Two scenarios would require the 28-year-old to enter the game. The first is obviously an injury to the starter. The other is if the Vikings realize Hall isn’t ready and Dobbs could do better. O’Connell and his coaching staff must play the guy that gives them the best chance to win the game. For now, they think Hall is that guy, but it will be his first career start, and like all rookies, his level of play is unpredictable, regardless of how well he was coached and how talented he is.

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Just a few days after arriving, it is hard to imagine Dobbs learning a playbook that took Cousins weeks and months to learn last year. Shortening the playbook could be an option, but O’Connell thinks he could use the full playbook, although he can pick his plays.

I think he absolutely could (run the full menu if he had to come in on Sunday), just knowing him and the type of preparation he’s going to finish up the week with but I don’t know if that’s necessarily required. I would much rather him be able to pick and choose. We’ve got plenty of plays, plenty of inventory.

To me, it’s about his comfort level, a similar process to what we’ll do with Jaren, making sure that he’s got a role in talking through certain aspects of the game where he likes certain things over others. There’s a reason why we put some volume in so we can pick and choose as we get down towards the later parts of the week.

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Cousins certainly used to have more plays prepared entering a game, but hearing O’Connell claim that both Hall and Dobbs can function within the playbook is encouraging compared to him saying that they will have a condensed playbook.

It will be Hall’s show on Sunday, but Dobbs is a decent backup option on Sunday, but also later in the season if needed.

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