Hall of Fame QB Slams Vikings for Benching Josh Dobbs

Josh Dobbs

Getty Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs

After looking at the tape, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner believes the Minnesota Vikings should not have benched Josh Dobbs.

Dobbs struggled to move the offense on Sunday, December 10, in the lowest-scoring game in 16 years. He completed just 10 of 23 passes for 63 yards through three full quarters before the Vikings put in Nick Mullens, who led the game’s only scoring drive in a 3-0 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Minnesota naming Mullens the starter this week after Dobbs’ troubling performance is no shocker for those who watched the game. But after looking back at the tape, Warner believes the roleplayers let Dobbs down and that his performance does not warrant him losing his starting spot.

“Just watched (the) Vikings tape, and I feel for Josh Dobbs being benched,” Warner posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, December 13. “So important to watch each play and not just see the results… I feel he played well, dropped passes all over, some things didn’t work and of course missed some, but far from a ‘benching’ performance in my opinion!”

Warner has a point.

Pro Football Focus gave Dobbs (68.5) a higher grade than Mullens (59.3). The Vikings dropping six passes while Dobbs was on the field and the offensive line’s atrophy due to injury did not help Dobbs either.

How much the Vikings’ poor offensive performance is on Dobbs is in the eye of the beholder, but Warner offered a film study on his YouTube channel to provide context to his belief that Dobbs should not have been benched.

Kevin O’Connell Says Josh Dobbs Understands Why He Was Benched

Josh Dobbs

GettyVikings quarterback Josh Dobbs and head coach Kevin O’Connell (right)

After Mullens jumped into action cold on Sunday and put forth a serviceable scoring drive, head coach Kevin O’Connell tipped his cap to Mullens, who will get the start on Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The move adds another dramatic turn in Dobbs’ career after the veteran journeyman became the only quarterback other than Baker Mayfield to start for three different teams in a single calendar year.

“Josh, for the better part of four games and three quarters there, led us to three wins and there’s a lot of teams in this league that when they do lose their starter, it takes a lot to overcome that and continue pressing onward,” O’Connell said in a Tuesday, December 12 news conference. “The team we’re playing this week, they’re experiencing it right now and Jake Browning’s doing a lot of good things to lead them to some wins at the right time of the year. So, I think Josh understands the process and where we’ve been at.

“I think he has respect for the opportunity he had and some of the really good things he did, but I think in communicating with him and making sure he knows exactly what the thought process is, the idea was to make sure there’s full transparency with these guys. I do believe Nick Mullens gives us the best chance to win the football game this Saturday, and that’s the decision we’ve made.”

 Vikings Bet on Change With Nick Mullens

Nick Mullens, Vikings

GettyQuarterback Nick Mullens of the Minnesota Vikings looks on against the Tennessee Titans in the first half during a preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mullens will be the fourth starting quarterback for the Vikings (7-6) in the past five games, where they’ve gone 3-2 in that span.

And while he may provide more stability in the passing game than Dobbs has shown in his past three starts, Mullens doesn’t offer a winning ceiling.

Mullens owns a career record of 5-12 as a starter, completing 65.4% of his passes for 27 touchdowns and 23 interceptions — about as good as you can ask for a career backup quarterback.

Tailoring an offense to Dobbs’ strengths appears to be out of the cards for the Vikings, who saw their potential of a season-high 31 points with Dobbs in his first game.

Instead, they’ve bet that Mullens can run the offense, in the mold of Cousins, effectively enough to produce a higher-scoring floor.

The Vikings, which sought to outgun teams at the beginning of the season with Cousins and a defense in its infancy will now lean on what O’Connell called a “championship defense” the rest of this season.

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