Vikings Announce Starting QB Decision

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023. The Vikings had a quarterback debate off the bye week in 2023, and O'Connell announced incumbent starter Joshua Dobbs would play in Week 14 at the Las Vegas Raiders.

After 10 days of debates, clues, hot takes, and opinions, Minnesota Vikings fans learned the team’s answer about the Week 14 starting quarterback.

Joshua Dobbs will remain the starter and lead the club against the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday.

Vikings Announce Starting QB Decision

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted late Wednesday morning, “The Vikings are sticking with Josh Dobbs as their starting QB this week against the Raiders, per me and Ian Rapoport. The team mulled a possible change over the bye. But with All-Pro WR Justin Jefferson back this week, the ‘Passtronaut’ finally gets to play with full weaponry.”

Vikings Announce Starting
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The Vikings’ social media team and head coach Kevin O’Connell confirmed the news shortly after the Pelissero tweet.

“We feel great about our bye week process of really, two layers to it — evaluating where Josh has been as far as immediately providing a spark and helping us win two football games. Then transitioning to some tough outcomes where there’s all kinds of things we could do better: we can coach better, Josh’s continued comfort in our offense and how we play, but also our offense and our staff’s ability to evolve and help Josh thrive,” O’Connell said at a much-anticipated press conference.

Turnover Woes
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Nick Mullens, who manned the QB2 gig to start the season, will keep his job and become the go-to option if Dobbs struggles or falls injured.

Dobbs, 28, took Minnesota and the NFL by storm in his first two games as a Viking, helping the club topple the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints in back-to-back weeks. His heroics at Atlanta occurred after just five days of learning the playbook.

Josh Dobbs Has One
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But in Week 12, Dobbs stumbled mightily under the lights of primetime, diming four interceptions at home versus the Chicago Bears while Minnesota lost 12-10. After the game, O’Connell said he’d use the bye week to evaluate his QB1 situation and ultimately decided to stay the course with Dobbs

During the Vikings’ two-game win spurt (and after the two-game losing skid), Dobbs’ teammates bought into DobbsMania. He was a winner for a couple of weeks, and his teammates rode the wave. He deserves a shot at the offense with all its tools. The only Viking life Dobbs knows is one without Justin Jefferson, which is abnormal for Vikings’ football. He may completely flourish with Jefferson open downfield, and benching him now could’ve been a raw deal.

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One item to remember about O’Connell’s decision is that a quick hook can be on the table. It’s not a franchise quarterback situation where it would be insulting to bench Dobbs at halftime of a game should turnovers or ineptitude arise. The aforementioned Mullens will be ready.

The Vikings are in win-now mode regarding the postseason chase. The New York Times’ playoff simulator places Minnesota’s postseason probability at 44% before the Raiders matchup. If Minnesota wins, the math climbs to 56%. A loss would gut the odds to 29%.

Minnesota is favored to defeat Las Vegas by a field goal, and the point spread did not change with the Dobbs decision.

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).

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