Vikings To Start Josh Dobbs In Week 14

DECEMBER 6: As expected, Dobbs will once again get the call for Minnesota. Despite his four-interception performance in an ugly home loss to the Bears, the trade pickup will make a fourth start for the Vikings. Dobbs, who entered this season with two starts in six years, has started all but one of his teams’ games this season. This will be the recent Kyler Murray stopgap’s 12th 2023 start.

The back injury that sent Mullens to IR factored into the Vikes’ decision-making, per’s Kevin Seifert, who adds O’Connell wants the to develop Hall in an “orderly fashion.” The Vikes evidently do not want the rookie fifth-rounder yo-yoing between starter and backup.

DECEMBER 2: The Vikings have a quarterback decision to make during their bye week. While head coach Kevin O’Connell has left the door open to a change under center, it would not come as a surprise for Josh Dobbs to at least temporarily retain his starting role.

Dobbs was brought in via trade in response to Kirk Cousins‘ Achilles tear. The former was not expected to immediately see playing time, but a concussion suffered by rookie Jaren Hall forced Dobbs into action. He has held the No. 1 role since then due to his surprising level of play in his first two starts (which were victories), as well as the absence of Nick Mullens.

All three passers are now healthy, however, and Dobbs’ play has taken a turn for the worse over the past two contests. Turnovers played a major factor in the Vikings’ narrow losses to the Broncos and Bears, and the bye week would represent a logical time to make a switch. O’Connell said earlier this week an evaluation will be conducted during Minnesota’s time off to determine the team’s starter for at least Week 14.

Plenty is yet to be decided on that front, but Dianna Russini of the Athletic writes Dobbs is in position to get the nod as things currently stand (subscription required). A similar sentiment is expressed by Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who adds practice reps in the coming week will be crucial in making a final call. With Justin Jefferson set to return in Week 14, all three quarterbacks are in line to practice with the reigning Offensive Player of the Year to adapt to the offense with him in the lineup.

“We’re going to make sure that whoever’s playing quarterback is aware and understands the intent behind plays, where either Justin is the primary [receiver] or based upon coverage, based upon the defensive look, how to quickly and efficiently get to the right place to go with the football,” O’Connell said, via Goessling.

Sitting at 6-6, the Vikings are firmly within the NFC Wild-Card race despite Cousins being lost for the year. There will thus be plenty at stake for the stretch run and specifically for whichever passer lands the No. 1 job to close out the season. Dobbs may have the inside track for the time being, but the in-season competition set to take place in the coming days will be worth watching closely.

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