How Long is Josh Dobbs Leash as Vikings Starting Quarterback?

Image Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a 20-21 loss against the Denver Broncos Sunday night; a loss that ended the longest active winning streak in the NFL (5 games). It was a winnable contest.

But at the end of the day, the Vikings made too many costly mistakes, like fumbling the ball twice and a critical 2nd half interception. Don’t get me wrong, they were far from perfect during their hot streak. But when you win, those errors are easily forgiven. Lose, however, and suddenly every screw up is under a microscope.

Josh Dobbs exposed in Broncos loss

Quarterback Josh Dobbs was quickly becoming a fan favorite within SKOL nation, after helping the Vikings secure 2 consecutive wins. But guess what? The Vikings lost on Sunday so his popularity is quickly falling back to reality, after some of his weakness were exposed by a very good Broncos defense.

To be fair to Josh Dobbs, the Broncos defense has been one of the best in the NFL, of late. But that’s not the way the season started. Denver posted their worst four PFF defense grades of 2023 in the first four games of the season (59.0, 60.4, 28.1, 55.0).

Related: Josh Dobbs is fine but he isn’t Kirk Cousins

That 28.1 rating? A 20-70 (not a typo) loss to the Miami Dolphins back in week 3. Since week four, they haven’t dipped below a 60 PFF grade. Prior to their win over the Vikings Denver took down their AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. Before them, the Buffalo Bills. Those are two of the more high powered offenses in the NFL.

Denver’s recent defensive surge is worth acknowledging, for obvious reasons. Riding the struggle bus vs a unit that also made Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen into passengers isn’t necessarily an indictment against him.

Josh Dobbs before the Broncos loss

Overall, Dobbs has been pretty good, since joining the Vikings, especially if wins are the only statistic that matters. That’s why he led the entire NFL in QBR — where wins and winning plays weigh heavily into the measurement — during weeks nine and ten.

That’s really impressive, considering the circumstances. During that stretch, Dobbs posted 526 yards and 3 touchdowns, through the air, to go along with 110 yards 2 touchdowns on the ground, all of which contributed immensely to two Minnesota Vikings victories.

Dobbs performance against Broncos

Against the Broncos, things didn’t come as easy for Josh Dobbs. He threw his first interception as a Viking and fumbled three times (lost one). Fumbles have been an issue for Dobbs all season. He coughed the ball up eight times in eight games, while with the Arizona Cardinals.

In Denver, however, his issues went far beyond a fumbling problem. He posted just his worst completion percentage since dawning the horned helmet (62%) and an 80.3 QB rating, after putting up 101.1 and 101.8 vs the Saints and Falcons, respectively.

Vikings other options at Quarterback

Kirk Cousins is sidelined for the season but the Vikings are not without other options at quarterback. Rookie Jaren Hall is expected to be available for the first time, since suffering a concussion on his second drive as Minnesota’s QB1, in week 10 vs the Falcons.

Related: Vikings Suddenly Stacked with Backup Quarterbacks

It will be interesting to see how that situation is handled because because Hall looked pretty good in his one very limited opportunity. I was impressed with the poise, footwork, and movements I saw from Hall a few weeks ago.

I prefer to evaluate young quarterbacks on how well they adjust to the game, as opposed to their statistical outputs. Some QBs just have ‘it’ and others don’t. Usually, you know pretty early on whether or not quarterbacks stand a chance in this league.

We need to see it for a more sustained period of time, but Hall was patient and seemed to have command of the offense, while under center. He completing 5 of 6 passes for 78 yards in Atlanta, before his day was cut short and the Dobbs legend went wild. Additionally, Jaren showed he’s athletic enough to extend plays with his feet.

If Jaren Hall is healthy, Dobbs leash as Minnesota Vikings starter should be short

I completely understand if the Vikings stick with Josh Dobbs. Nonetheless, I want to see Hall get another shot. Had he not suffered a concussion, he’s probably still this team’s starting quarterback.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Hall for a reason and I want to see his potential explored a little bit, before this team jumps into an offseason with a lot of quarterback questions. After all, this is the first quarterback hand picked by Kevin O’Connell, who appears to be a QB whisperer, of sorts.

Based on what I have seen so far, in a very small sample size, I’m comfortable ruling out the possibility that Jaren Hall is the long-term answer at Vikings quarterback. I want to see his potential explored. And the best part, he’s already under contract.

The other options for the Vikings are two veteran backup quarterbacks, Nick Mullens and Sean Mannion. Mullens is a better option than Mannion, who isn’t really an option at all. The only logical argument I can see for starting Mullens over Hall, if replacing Dobbs, would be experience with KOC’s offense. But Mullens isn’t a long-term option.

I think the leash for Josh Dobbs should be shortened, if Jaren Hall is healthy and ready to suit up. Just like Dobbs, Hall could be Minnesota’s quarterback of the future. Dobbs has been solid and we know he gives this team a chance to win. But we’re getting a pretty good idea of the “Passtronaut’s” ceiling. Any further struggles and I think it’s time we find out Jaren Hall’s.

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