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Who is Joshua Dobbs, the Minnesota Vikings' new quarterback?

Vikings beat Saints 27-19 for 5th straight win
Vikings beat Saints 27-19 for 5th straight win 01:13

MINNEAPOLIS — If you're a Minnesota Vikings fan who didn't know who Joshua Dobbs was before he beat the Atlanta Falcons, you're not alone.

He only joined the team a few days prior after being traded by the Arizona Cardinals. It's possible some of his teammates didn't even know him.

But after his improbable performance against the Falcons, Dobbs' name is carved in the hallowed halls of Vikings history. When rookie Jaren Hall, who was starting in relief of the injured Kirk Cousins, suffered a concussion in the first quarter, Dobbs was unceremoniously tossed under center.

Unlike Hall, this wasn't Dobbs' first career start, but to play quarterback for a team scant days after arriving in the state is a nightmarishly tall task for any QB. Vikings fans will well remember another quarterback named Josh who did the same thing in 2013. Josh Freeman, whom the Vikings signed on Oct. 6 of that year, suited up to start against the New York Giants just 10 days later. Freeman threw an unconscionable 53 passes, completing only 20 of them for 190 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. The Vikings lost 23-7 and Freeman never started another game for them.

Dobbs, on the other hand, led the Vikings to a 31-28 win, completing 20/30 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, plus 66 yards and a touchdown on the ground. It wasn't all perfect — he fumbled three times, losing two of them — but he did enough to give the Vikings their fourth-straight win and keep them alive in the playoff race.

Then, a week later, he gave an even sharper performance in a 27-19 win over the New Orleans Saints. He completed 23/34 passes and had 312 total yards and two total touchdowns

So who is this Dobbs guy anyway?

NFL: NOV 05 Vikings at Falcons
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 05: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) warms up during the week 9 Sunday afternoon NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings on November 5, 2023 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Where did Dobbs go to college?

Dobbs played college football for the University of Tennessee. He appeared in 37 games across four seasons and was the starter for his junior and senior seasons. In his college career, Dobbs compiled 7,138 passing yards, 53 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also had 2,160 yards and 32 TDs on the ground. He majored in aerospace engineering at UT and has worked with NASA since leaving the school.

Where did Dobbs get drafted?

The Pittsburgh Steelers took Dobbs in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft. At the time, Ben Roethlisberger was firmly entrenched as the Steelers' starter.

Dobbs was the seventh quarterback taken in that draft. Four of the six taken ahead of him are still in the league, though only two are still starters (Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson). 

Has Dobbs been a starting NFL quarterback before?

Dobbs has mostly been a backup, though he has started 10 games across his seven-year career. 

His first starting experience came for the Tennessee Titans last season. It was a similar situation to that of the Vikings — the Titans signed him off of the Detroit Lions' practice squad on Dec. 21 and he started for them on Dec. 29. Dobbs went 0-2 in his starts in Tennessee, completing 58.8% of his passes for 411 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

This season, Dobbs started the Arizona Cardinals' first eight games. He went 1-7, though the Cardinals are among the league's worst teams and in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in the next draft. His only win came against the Dallas Cowboys in a 28-16 upset. Dobbs completed 63.2% of his passes for 1,727 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions with the Cardinals. 

Will Dobbs keep starting for the Vikings?

With Cousins expected to miss the rest of the season and Hall dealing with a concussion, Dobbs is the only viable starter for the Vikings. But after leading the Vikings to two wins — and seeing the reaction from other Vikings — it'll be hard for the Vikings to put the offense back in Hall's hands, even after he's cleared to return.

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