Josh Dobbs is NFL’s best story, he’s turned situations meant for failure into success

The best story in the NFL now? Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs.

Without question.

Dobbs lit up the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in a 27-19 victory. He threw a touchdown pass. He ran for a touchdown. Dobbs also led three touchdown drives.

And then the first half ended.

So, yes, nice outing as the Vikings have won both the games Dobbs has played.

“It was electric, I had a lot of fun,” Dobb said after his first experience playing in Minnesota. “Great win, we’ll continue pushing forward.


“Stepping on the field and having the [practice repetitions] where you’re not first time throwing to receivers and working with the Oline mid-game allowed it to be a lot more comfortable on the field. The week of preparation where I could get the offense under my belt, the game plan under my belt, was awesome.”

In two weeks Dobbs has made the Twin Cities feel comfortable about losing Kirk Cousins as their starting quarterback since he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.

That is no small feat because, you may recall, Cousins led the NFL in touchdown passes when he was injured.

But here we are: Josh Dobbs taking over.

“Having fun coaching him right now just because there’s a lot that goes into it,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said of Dobbs. “Then when we get to play football he goes out there and he looks like he’s enjoying himself.

“I know his teammates are enjoying watching him. [He] continues to get acclimated to our team. I’m just really proud of Josh and he’s excited to get back to work and continue the momentum on this thing.”

In his two games with the Vikings, Dobbs has completed over 70% of his passes, accounted for five TDs (three passing, two rushing) and has not turned over the ball.

But that’s just the football portion of this tale. And the football portion feels a lot like side details.

The main story is about the way Dobbs has dealt with and overcome circumstances written as if meant to see him fail. The endearing part is how Dobbs has been handed lemons and turned them into lemonade.

He arrived in Minnesota on Oct. 31st after being traded from the Cardinals at the trade deadline almost as an afterthought. The Vikings are his third team this season after being traded from Cleveland to Arizona in August.

And then things got crazy.

The Vikings traded for Dobbs because Cousins was out and they needed someone to back up new starter Jaran Hall. Fine.


To help Hall, a rookie, prepare for his first NFL start. the club gave Dobbs a total of zero first-team snaps in practice two weeks ago. All the snaps went to Hall.

Dobbs was comfortable with this. He’d arrived in town five days earlier and didn’t even know where he was going to live much less the cadence for the team’s snaps.

Dobbs did have some experience with quick turnarounds because last season he made his first career start eight days after signing with the Tennessee Titans. The Titans won the game, by the way.

The Cardinals similarly acquired Dobbs in the preseason and started him in their regular-season opener less than two weeks later.

Then the end of his Cardinals days happened at the trade deadline — a time that shows Arizona’s lack of true planning and the manner which life in the NFL comes at people very fast.

Dobbs was told he was starting. Then he was told he was benched. Then he was told he was benched but wouldn’t be released or traded. Then he was traded.

This all happened within a 36-hour period.

And when Hall was injured in the first quarter against Atlanta last week, enter Dobbs.

Dobbs entered the Atlanta game although he had not thrown a pass to any of his receivers, nor taken a snap from starting center Garrett Bradbury.

Dobbs later admitted sheepishly he didn’t know most of his teammates’ names. A holder of an aerospace engineering degree, Dobbs is obviously a bright dude. So he caught on quickly even as his game took, um, flight.

The Vikings beat the Saints. And by last week, life had started to slow down. Sort of.

“I’m still staying across the street [from the team complex], living out of a suitcase and everything,” Dobbs said early in the week. “I did, you know, my car made it from Arizona – that’s the first thing that’s made it up here.

“…Having the chance to informally meet teammates and coaches, and just to talk ball but also to talk life off the field was really cool, just learning and getting to know my teammates.”

Dobbs said he spent most of last week in the Vikings facility trying to catch up for not being there the season’s first two months.

“I’m not paid by the hour so I have nowhere else to be,” Dobbs said. “I spent a lot of time at the facility. I probably ate every meal every day there. Which was fine, man. I’m blessed to be in the position I am. I’m grateful for this opportunity.

“So no stone will be not turned over, whether it’s no growing in the offense, creating simulated reps in the facility, or studying the defenses we’re going to play.”

Dobbs said he spent a lot of time asking the other quarterbacks — including Cousins — questions about the offense and opponents.

“I asked them questions about the offense, stuff that was getting installed, just to clear my mind,” Dobbs said, “as I was exorcizing some demons to make sure I was locked in for game day.”

Dobbs was virtually a Vikings veteran by Sunday. Except for the part where he needed someone to point him to the Vikings’ locker room. That happened pregame.

And then the game started.

In his first start the Vikings were reluctant about asking Dobbs to make plays early in the game.

Now they weren’t.

O’Connell called five passes on Minnesota’s first drive. Dobbs completed four of them. So, not perfect but the Vikings led 3-0.

Remember that Dobbs is doing this without Justin Jefferson, N’Keal Harry or K.J. Osborn.

He’s throwing to rookie of the year candidate Jordan Adison, sure. But Brandon Powell? Jalen Nailor? Trishton Jackson?

No matter. Dobbs improvises. Runs when he should probably throw. Throws into coverages. But he has kept the ball out of the other team’s hands and he never gives up on a play.

“Our guys understand now it’s whistle to whistle,” O’Connell said. “He does unique things that maybe we didn’t before … Josh in two starts has shown us what mobility in addition to what we do offensively can do for us in this tough time when we’re trying to overcome the loss of a guy like Kirk.”

Stuff like that has obviously made Jefferson excited about his return.

And what about the future? The Vikings are without a starter next season. Have they already met their future starter?

“He’ll get him a big contract after the year,” FOX Sports analyst Jimmy Johnson said at halftime on Sunday. “It’s about being in the right place at the right time with the right coach and he’s got that in Minnesota.”

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