Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell Turns Heads With Josh Dobbs Comment

Josh Dobbs

Getty Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs and head coach Kevin O'Connell (right)

Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell emphasized the importance of choosing a quarterback who would best maximize Justin Jefferson‘s return to the offense, opting to go with Josh Dobbs in a Week 14 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.

That proved to be a poor decision, as the mobile journeyman was running for his life for much of the game. Dobbs struggled to deliver the football to his targets, completing just 10 of 23 passes for 63 yards and getting sacked five times.

Jefferson didn’t see a legitimate target until the second quarter after his first look on the team’s opening drive nearly went for a pick-6.

On December 11, O’Connell addressed how his game plan for Dobbs was different with Jefferson in the lineup, noting the need to stay in the pocket and deliver the football — something Dobbs struggled to do all day before he was benched in the team’s 3-0 win.

“Those things really pertain to utilizing the shotgun a little bit more. You’re trying to stay efficient and then work some of those maybe plays where you can move him off the spot we utilize the keeper game on some plays but in the end in this league you do need to still drop back and and throw the football, especially to maximize a guy like Justin Jefferson,” O’Connell said in a December 11 news conference.

“We wanted to have some plays to do that we still need to improve some of our play pass protections I thought there were some simple breakdowns that contributed to some of our sack numbers. … But I’m not a big fan of talking about how close you are. We certainly weren’t [effective] in the pass game yesterday.”

Josh Dobbs Struggles to Run Vikings Offense

Josh Dobbs

GettyVikings quarterback Josh Dobbs

It seemed that after Jefferson exited the game, O’Connell did not have a backup plan to best maximize Dobbs.

The play calling reverted to a philosophy that was a better fit for Kirk Cousins, as Dobbs was rarely schemed outside the pocket.

Having Dobbs under center and tailoring the offense to maximize Jefferson appear contradictory after Sunday’s performance. Even when Jefferson was in the game, Dobbs struggled to deliver the ball in the pocket with the necessary reads and timing.

It’s concerning that after having an extra week of preparation to work through Dobbs’ growing pains, O’Connell deployed a lackluster game plan.

The Vikings will announce the starting quarterback for Week 15 in the coming days, and it would be surprising to see O’Connell tip his cap to Dobbs again because the Vikings coach appears adamant about running the offense he drew up in the offseason.

Vikings Face Former QB on Primetime Against Bengals

Jake Browning

GettyJake Browning won his first pro game on Monday Night Football.

The Vikings’ quarterback woes will be put on display on December 16, when former backup Jake Browning, who was cut from the team in 2022, will start for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals have found a way to maximize Browning after Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending wrist injury in a November 16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Browning, who lost his job to Nick Mullens during the 2022 preseason, has completed 69 of 87 pass attempts (79.3%) for 856 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and has gone 2-1 as a starter.

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