Vikings HC explains starting Joshua Dobbs vs. Raiders

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell spoke with reporters Wednesday and explained why he’s sticking with veteran Joshua Dobbs as his starting quarterback for this Sunday’s game at the 5-7 Las Vegas Raiders. 

“Josh has continued comfort in our offense and how we play,” O’Connell said, per Nick Shook of the NFL’s website. “Also, our offense and staff’s ability to evolve and help Josh thrive is our plan. We are very confident in him. He got off to a great start this week, on Monday with some extra work with the guys.” 

Dobbs joined the Vikings ahead of the trade deadline after Kirk Cousins suffered a season-ending torn Achilles on Oct. 29, and the 28-year-old was called into action less than a week into his Minnesota tenure. While Dobbs initially helped the Vikings win back-to-back games, the club lost his next two starts to fall to 6-6 ahead of its bye. Following a 12-10 defeat against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 27, O’Connell declined to commit to Dobbs as his starter over backup Nick Mullens.  

“Nick Mullens will be ready to go,” O’Connell insisted on Wednesday. “We’ll prepare Nick like we always do.”

Across his first four games with the Vikings, Dobbs completed 66.4% of 128 pass attempts for 832 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. He also rushed for 142 yards and three scores with three lost fumbles over those four contests. 

As noted by Kevin Seifert of ESPN, Dobbs should finally get to throw passes to All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson after Jefferson missed seven games because of a right hamstring injury. 

“Getting Justin back will be a clear positive for us and how that looks like for the quarterback position,” O’Connell added. “It’s a do-your-job mentality.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the ESPN Football Power Index gave the Vikings a 49.6% chance to make the playoffs. Minnesota would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC if the postseason began ahead of Week 14.

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