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Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell to evaluate Josh Dobbs, path forward at QB

Vikings' Kevin O'Connell to evaluate Josh Dobbs, path forward at QB

MINNEAPOLIS — The most unique story of the NFL’s 2023 season might soon be coming to an end.

After watching quarterback Josh Dobbs throw four interceptions Monday night in a 12-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said he will spend the team’s upcoming bye reviewing the best path forward at the position.

Dobbs was forced into emergency duty in Week 9, five days after the Vikings acquired him in an Oct. 31 trade with the Arizona Cardinals, when rookie Jaren Hall suffered a concussion. Veteran Nick Mullens, who entered the season as the team’s No. 2 quarterback, was on injured reserve at the time because of a back injury.

But Mullens is back on the active roster, and Hall cleared concussion protocol last week.

“We’re going to take a look and really evaluate the inventory of plays we have of Josh,” O’Connell said. “We got healthy. We got Jaren back available to us, and then Nick Mullens is available as well.”

Dobbs almost didn’t make it out of Monday night’s game, as O’Connell said, “We definitely had started to get to the point where I was just trying to think, almost, what would give us a spark.”

But ultimately, according to O’Connell, Dobbs “battled, no flinch, and just kept playing and competing to try help us win.”

Dobbs has committed a total of eight turnovers — five interceptions and three lost fumbles — in his four games with Minnesota. The Vikings have been plagued by turnovers all season — they rank No. 31 in the NFL in turnovers per game (2.0) and No. 30 in turnover margin per game (-0.67). As O’Connell put it Monday night, they “absolutely cripple you.”

Dobbs was the third quarterback to start a game for the Vikings this season, following Kirk Cousins, who tore his right Achilles tendon in Week 8, and Hall.

Hall was the No. 3 quarterback against the Bears and by rule couldn’t play unless both Dobbs and Mullens were injured.

“I acknowledge [the interceptions], man,” Dobbs said. “I’m frustrated with myself because it starts with me. I’ll be better from it. I’ll learn from every single one of them tonight and we’ll use it to build momentum into the next opportunity.”

Whether he gets another opportunity, however, remains to be seen.

“Honestly, I think that’s a coaching decision,” Dobbs said. “I just focus on myself. Focus on how I can help this team win. Focus on how I can be a better teammate, a better quarterback, and focus on how I can make sure the offense is in the right play based on the scenario to go out and execute.”

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