After dropping a critical game in the NFC playoff race on Monday night against the Chicago Bears, Kevin O'Connell had some tough questions to answer about quarterback Josh Dobbs. Dobbs, who became the story of the NFL after being acquired at the trade deadline and leading the Vikings to several comeback victories, has suddenly come crashing back down to earth.
The last two weeks, Dobbs has played more like a quarterback on his seventh team in just a few short years than some sort of revelation the Vikings stumbled upon. In all honesty, the answer as to what Dobbs really is is likely somewhere in between. The Tennessee product is a high-end backup who can be counted on without much notice, but not a player to build a team around. Sometimes the truth hurts. O'Connell wouldn't even commit to starting Dobbs next week.
"We're going to take a look, really evaluate the inventory of plays we have of Josh," O'Connell said. "We got healthy, we got Jaren (Hall) back available to us and then Nick Mullens is available as well."
Dobbs himself was frustrated after the defeat, saying he needs to play better to earn his spot.
"I'm frustrated with myself," Dobbs said. "I'll be better from it, I'll learn from every single one of them tonight. ... I know I can play better football. I'm excited for the next opportunity to show that."
Hopefully Dobbs gets another chance to prove himself, but the long view is not a positive one, as the Vikings will likely look elsewhere for a QB in 2024.
3. Will the Vikings start Jaren Hall at QB in 2024?
The Minnesota Vikings selected Jaren Hall out of BYU in the 2023 NFL Draft as a developmental piece. With Kirk Cousins not out for the season and Dobbs struggling, if O'Connell is going to make a move to the rookie, the time is now. O'Connell did mention he's going to look at the tape and make a decision moving forward. Benching Dobbs after back-to-back poor starts is on the table, and if that's the case O'Connell will turn to either Hall or Nick Mullens.
While Hall is technically a rookie, he is older than the majority of his counterparts in their first season of pro football. He was also considered a good decision maker coming out of BYU, which makes him an attractive fit for the Vikings moving forward.
"As a decision-maker, Hall shows a degree of discretion at times when working high to low. He can pass up dangerous throws for safer checkdowns, and he’s also proven to have the wherewithal to throw the ball away when he’s forced toward the sideline with no options," Pro Football Network's Ian Cummings wrote. "When Hall can stay in the pocket, however, he’s able to see through passes while encountering contact, and his poise is consistently impressive."
Hall was selected in the fifth round in part because of his size. At just six-feet tall, he's considered undersized at the position and could have a tough time seeing the field over his towering offensive linemen. If there were a time to see what Hall can give, it's now, rather than the start of next season.