This final stop in Minnesota on Joshua Dobbs’ seven-year, seven-team NFL journey became his most eventful experience in less than two weeks.

The Vikings enjoyed having him even more.

Dobbs kept an injury-depleted offense on track in his first start, throwing for 268 yards and contributing a career-best two touchdowns, helping the Vikings build a 24-point halftime lead over the New Orleans Saints 27-19 to beat Sunday for their fifth straight win.

Joshua Dobbs threw for 268 yards with two total touchdowns in the Vikings’ 27-19 win over the Saints

Joshua Dobbs threw for 268 yards with two total touchdowns in the Vikings' 27-19 win over the Saints

“I actually pinched myself,” Dobbs said, just 12 days after he was acquired in an emergency trade with Arizona and two days after he finally moved out of his hotel. “It was just cool to be able to experience everything.”

After an injury to Jaren Hall forced Dobbs into action in Atlanta without prior work with the first-team offense, the former aerospace engineering major at Tennessee nicknamed “The Passtronaut” impressed coach Kevin O’Connell and his staff his preparation in addition.

“He had a fantastic week of training,” O’Connell said. “I’m enjoying coaching him at the moment.”

TJ Hockenson outscored the Saints in the first half alone with 10 catches for 128 yards and a score for the Vikings (6-4), who faltered after the hot start. Mekhi Blackmon and Byron Murphy intercepted Jameis Winston’s downfield attempts in the fourth quarter, ending consecutive Saints possessions, and Winston’s final throw into a crowd in the end zone on the final play of the game was safely thrown to the turf.

“We left some of us out early in the second half that we would like to have back,” safety Harrison Smith said, “but when the time came, we made the plays.”

“Another building block for us” – Vikings’ QB Josh Dobbs after win against Saints

“Another building block for us” – Vikings' QB Josh Dobbs after win against Saints

After Derek Carr left in the third quarter with a concussion and a shoulder injury, Winston came into the game trailing 27-3 and delivered touchdown passes to Chris Olave and AT Perry on high-difficulty highlight-reel catches in the end zone over Murphy . Alvin Kamara contributed the crucial 2-point conversion runs.

The Saints (5-5) caught a break when Ty Chandler, whose first career touchdown run for the Vikings came in the first quarter, ran a third-and-1 for a 29-yard score A holding call on the right side was rejected midway through the fourth quarter against Brian O’Neill.

But the NFC South leaders have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season.

“We can’t keep digging ourselves into these holes,” coach Dennis Allen said.

After the adrenaline of the comeback win over the Falcons wore off, the Vikings faced a tough challenge against a dangerous Saints secondary that came into the game leading the NFL in interceptions and passes defended.

Superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) sat out for the fifth straight game and starting wide receiver KJ Osborn (concussion) did not play. Hockenson suffered a painful rib injury that aggravated several times. Then running back Alexander Mattison (concussion) was forced out of the game in the third quarter. After all, Dobbs was only here because of Kirk Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tendon tear.

But he went 23 for 34 without a turnover and rushed eight times for 44 yards, including a third-and-6 scramble that began with a 360-degree turn around the pocket to find a circle and a 7- Yard touchdown ended when he hit cornerback Alontae Taylor at the 5 and ran straight into the pylon.

“We have to beat him,” Saints defensive tackle Malcolm Roach said. “We can’t ask these guys to cover for 30 seconds.”

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Dobbs has had three straight games with at least one pass and one rushing touchdown, including his last game with Arizona. The only players with longer streaks since the 1970 merger: Justin Fields (five, 2022), Kyler Murray (five, 2020) and Michael Vick (four, 2010).

“Sometimes it’s good coverage,” left tackle Christian Darrisaw said. “Josh just has the ability to use his legs and I guess defenders forget that.”

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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