Joshua Dobbs may not be a threat to make the All-Pro team this year, but there is no doubt that he is smart enough to pick up the Vikings gameplan and put it to memory.
Why is that? Because he has been an actual rocket scientist in his life away from the football field. He was an aerospace engineering major at Tennessee and has had two externships with NASA. He helped develop a hi-tech moon rover and took part in the launch of an international space station.
He will pursue a career in aerospace engineering in the future, but he is an NFL quarterback now, and he is a quick study.
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the Vikings acquired him from the Arizona Cardinals along with a seventh-round pick for a sixth-round selection.
This is a move that tells head coach Kevin O’Connell, his coaching staff, the players and fans that they are not going to accept the Achilles injury to Kirk Cousins and bemoan their fate. The Vikings are making an effort to fight for the NFC North title – or at least a Wild Card spot – and not just play out the string.
The Vikings aren’t crying in their beer. They are taking a necessary step to continue the fight.
Rookie Jaren Hall is almost certain to get the start this week when the Vikings go to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. The Vikings drafted Hall in the fifth round last spring with the idea of developing him for the future. He might be able to fill in for a game and help his team get a victory, especially with the way the Minnesota defense is playing.
Let that one sink in for a moment.
The Vikings had one of the worst defenses in the league for three straight years, and they brought in Brian Flores to fix that. Instead of the No. 31 ranking the Vikings had last year, they are now ranked 11th – and moving up every week. They are allowing 322.8 yards per game and could bypass the New England Patriots shortly.
Danielle Hunter leads the NFL with 10.0 sacks and he also has 12 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles and 2 passes batted down. Safety Cam Bynum has a team-leading 76 tackles, 6 passes defensed and 2 interceptions. Linebacker Jordan Hicks has 69 tackles, 3 passes defensed, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and he returned 1 of them for a touchdown.
Flores employs a blitz-heavy scheme and his players don’t come from spots that opponents are expecting. The Vikings defense has been getting the jump on opponents and improving each week.
So, Dobbs will not be asked to win games by himself. He will be surrounded by a much better team than he had in Arizona. He had performed adequately for the Cardinals after being acquired in late August from the Cleveland Browns.
Dobbs has completed 167 of 266 passes for 1,589 yards with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions this season. He is a fine runner who can get away from defenders, having gained 258 yards on 47 carries with 3 touchdowns.
If Dobbs is in the starting lineup in Week 10 at U.S. Bank Stadium against the New Orleans Saints, he could have All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson back in the lineup. Jefferson can come off the injured list prior to that game, and his return will make a dangerous receiving crew elite.
Rookie Jordan Addison has stepped up in Jefferson’s absence, and T.J. Hockenson has shown he can be an excellent weapon. K.J. Osborn is one of the most unsung receivers in the league because he can go over the middle and make the tough catch on third downs.
Dobbs was able to lead the Cardinals to one win over the Dallas Cowboys and several other impressive performances that fell short of victory. He moves on to a team that has momentum with four wins in their last 5 games and a favorable schedule that includes upcoming games against the Broncos and Bears after games against Atlanta and New Orleans.
After a brutal injury to their quarterback, the Vikings suddenly have life and a chance to make a memorable run to the playoffs.