Kevin SeifertESPN Editor4 minute read
MINNEAPOLIS — For a brief moment last week, Joshua Dobbs took the time to pinch himself. The fervor of his stunning debut with the Vikings was just beginning to dissipate when he stepped into an elevator at the team hotel, where dozens of former franchise players had gathered for a weekend reunion.
A few alumni also got on the elevator. As he later recounted, Dobbs was shocked when they recognized him, praised his impact on the team and spoke enthusiastically about the rest of the season.
“Just feeling that energy,” he said, “and feeling that recognition from guys who have played a lot more snaps than me and had illustrious careers, and just seeing that enthusiasm, it meant a lot to me. It was a cool moment, just to take it all in.”
Dobbs picked up Sunday where he left off last week in Atlanta, totaling 312 yards of offense and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ 27-19 win over the Saints. In doing so, Dobbs became the first player in NFL history to accumulate 400 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and no interceptions in his first two games with a team, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Dobbs is the third quarterback in as many weeks to start for the Vikings, following Kirk Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tear in Week 8 and Jaren Hall’s concussion during the week. 9. The Vikings acquired Dobbs from the Cardinals on October 31 to serve as an emergency backup for Hall, and Dobbs went on to account for 224 yards of offense and three touchdowns against the Falcons despite not taking a single rep. training with the team.
Before Sunday’s game, Dobbs had the relative luxury of a full week to learn the Vikings’ offense and their game plan for the Saints, which required more passing than expected. He guided the Vikings to a 24-3 halftime lead and finished with 23 completions on 34 attempts for 268 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to tight end TJ Hockenson just before halftime . He also ran for 44 yards on eight carries, converting two third downs and scoring on a 7-yard run in which he came out of the pocket and rushed after the Saints covered his four reads on the play.
“Josh, in two starts, has shown us what mobility, in addition to what we do offensively, can do for us in this tough time where we’re trying to overcome the loss of Kirk,” coach Kevin O said. ‘Connell.
O’Connell added: “Last week, I can’t stress enough the circumstances he found himself in in our offense, but what I think is really special this week, even after that performance, is his work, the way he prepared. He was basically living in the facility and going through his normal process while also allowing us to show him how we do things, how we try to improve his ability to play fast while still giving him some really good plays that he can be responsible for against each other on the line.
“I thought it was a pretty outstanding day from Josh and the best thing about it is we’re all getting to know each other and getting to a comfort level where we can continue to layer on this thing to trying to be as successful as we can be offensive.
Indeed, Dobbs said he ate every meal at the facility last week to make sure he spent enough time learning the game plan, joking that “I don’t get paid by the hour , so I have nowhere to go.”
Getting serious, however, Dobbs said he was determined to make sure Atlanta’s memorable performance wasn’t lost to history.
“Whatever happens,” he said, “you have to put that aside and move on to the next one. You show up on Sunday, you don’t play well? Nobody cares what you did all week last in Atlanta. They care about what you did this week in Minnesota.