The Minnesota Vikings are 2-0 in the Joshua Dobbs era after Sunday's gutsy win over the New Orleans Saints. A couple weeks ago, the Vikings felt dead in the water following Kirk Cousins' season-ending Achillies injury. Now... well, the Detroit Lions can't rest easy atop the AFC North.
It's fair to question the sustainability of this stretch from Dobbs and Minnesota. The Saints in Week 10 and the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9 aren't exactly NFL powerhouses. Atlanta just lost to Kyler Murray and the 1-8 Arizona Cardinals, Dobbs' former team. The Saints haven't really beaten anybody good all season.
On the other hand, the wellspring of momentum behind Minnesota is difficult to ignore. The Vikings' torrid play stretches back before the Cousins injury. The Vikings haven't lost since Week 5, and even before then, all their losses were close games against quality opponents.
With five straight wins under their belt and a suddenly spectacular Joshua Dobbs helming the offense — 23-of-34 passes completed on Sunday for 268 yards and a touchdown, with another 44 yards and one touchdown on the ground — are the Vikings... back?
Or, better yet, should the Vikings prepare to invest in Dobbs as the long-term solution at QB?
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At this point, its fair to qualify the Vikings as exceedingly "real." That's a good team, with a widely respected and successful head coach in Kevin O'Connell, and quality personnel across the board. The looming return of Justin Jefferson will only improve the offense around Dobbs. It can be difficult to win a Super Bowl with a "system" QB, so to speak, but a quality offensive roster can elevate the performance of a traditionally mediocre signal-caller.
Dobbs deserves more credit than that, however. He has made several clutch throws in both Minnesota victories, operating with unexpected poise and confidence in a completely-new-to-him system. Scratch out the three fumbles from the Atlanta game, most of which can be chalked up to a steep learning curve, and the blemishes since his arrival are few and far between.
Minnesota's schedule doesn't exactly get harder in the weeks to come either. Next week it's the Denver Broncos. Then, the Chicago Bears. Then, the Las Vegas Raiders. The Cincinnati Begnals and Lions pose genuine threats in Week 14 and Week 15, respectively, but the Vikings have a real shot to keep this win streak going.
As for the future, it's difficult to say. The Vikings spent a sixth-round pick to acquire Dobbs on a one-year contract. He will enter free agency in the offseason, as will the injured Cousins. Jaren Hall stands as an intriguing rookie, but he's hardly a contending QB. The Vikings will have to decide what exactly the immediate future of the franchise will look like.
Minnesota is plainly built to win. T.J. Hockenson signed a record contract for his position and Jefferson is due for a similar contract in the WR slot eventually. There was little traction on extension talks with Cousins before the injury, but — and this is deeply unfortunate, but the truth — his price just went down. There's a chance Cousins will prioritize stability and familiarity over the biggest paycheck as he rehabs from a serious injury, and other teams previously interested in Cousins might back off.
It will also be worth monitoring how the market for Dobbs evolves. There is a lot of football left to be played — read: a lot of time for Dobbs to cool off — but there's a chance Dobbs plays his way into a hefty raise. He's probably not a full-time starter, but he could be the experienced backup a team with a young QB overpays for, a la Jacoby Brissett with the Washington Commanders.
The Vikings could also re-sign both Cousins and Dobbs, with the latter as an insurance policy in case Cousins doesn't get back to full strength.
In the interest of concrete predictions way too far in advance, expect Cousins to re-sign and Dobbs to get a healthy raise from another team looking for an established backup QB. So, while Dobbs has been a minor miracle in his first Vikings month, he could be playing his way off the team more than anything else.