Vikings Suddenly Stacked with Backup Quarterbacks
There was a time, literally just a few weeks ago in Atlanta, when the Minnesota Vikings were so low on backup quarterback depth that they were forced to start rookie 5th rounder, Jaren Hall, when Kirk Cousins went down with an Achilles tear.
His backup? A 28-year-old Josh Dobbs, who had been on seven teams in two years, before arriving via trade three days earlier. Two drives into that game vs the Falcons, Hall suffered a concussion and Dobbs became the starter. We all know the rest of that story.
Minnesota Vikings backup quarterback struggles
Do you remember who Dobbs’ backup QB was that afternoon, though? It was Running back Cam Akers, the team’s emergency QB (played in college) at the time. But, he ruptured his Achilles in the second half, which left the Vikings’ extremely vulnerable at the most important position in sports.
Despite a grilling from both me and @markcraignfl, Kevin O'Connell refused to divulge the identity of the Vikings' emergency quarterback this week. (It had been Cam Akers before his Achilles injury.)— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) November 10, 2023
Kevin O’Connell said that he did scramble up a backup backup backup backup plan for what he would have done at QB, had Josh Dobbs suffered an injury after Akers was hurt, but he was so embarrassed about it that he didn’t even feel comfortable revealing who it was.
Back then, Vikings brass was scrambling behind the scenes, turning over all possible options at QB. Even former Gopher, Tanner Morgan, has been on and off the practice squad. In fact, Tanner was practicing at TCO Performance Center as recently as last week.
It’s a backup QB party
But, those days of backup quarterback stress seem to be over. On Wednesday, the Vikings had four backup quarterbacks at practice, three of them very serviceable on Sundays, and one a borderline starter.
Today’s healthy QBs, L-R: Sean Mannion, Josh Dobbs, Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall. pic.twitter.com/F87iQc5dLQ— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) November 16, 2023
Ok, ok, I’m counting Josh Dobbs as the “borderline starter” backup. But technically, that’s a fair description. Until Kirk Cousins’ contract says otherwise, #8 is the starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. Which, again, adds to how impressively deep this team suddenly looks at backup QB, a position they did not give a flying bleep about, until three weeks ago.
Jaren Hall looked really good in his 2nd and final drive as interim QB1 vs the Falcons. He was a full go yesterday, for the first time since suffering that concussion. Not only that, but the Vikings’ original backup plan, Nick Mullins, is in his 21-day practice window, after being on IR for four weeks. He too could return to the 53-man roster, as soon as Sunday.
Coming into the season, Mullins was seen as the best backup QB Minnesota has had since 2018, when Kirk arrived. Don’t get me wrong, Josh Dobbs staying healthy and continuing to play well is the Vikings’ best case scenario, going forward this season.
But, should something go wrong at QB, yet again, I think we can all feel pretty confident that the Vikings would be able to move forward, without missing a beat. If both Mullins and Hall are ready to go for Sunday, I’d expect Mullins to be Dobbs’ backup and Hall to be on the sidelines as the team’s emergency QB.
We’ve now had a pretty good sample size of what Kevin O’Connell can do with middling QB talent and, as pointed out throughout this blog, Minnesota’s roster is kind of stacked with middling QB talent right now.