When Josh Dobbs went through his draft evaluation period, the running joke was that he would be the first quarterback to add additional questions to the Wonderlic. Dobbs’ intellect has been a key aspect of his story since he enrolled at Tennessee as a 4.0 student with an interest in aerospace engineering.
The act of visualizing and memorizing playbooks is one of the most difficult aspects of playing quarterback in the NFL. Dobbs made a joke out of bulky playbooks. Now on his fifth team in the span of a year, Dobbs has mastered learning playbooks in shorthand. In three preseason appearances with the Cleveland Browns, Dobbs completed 35-of-53 passes for 338 yards, two touchdowns and 57 yards on the ground and a rushing score.
Dobbs was drafted by Pittsburgh as a developmental quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger in 2017, but few expected him to hang on to his career as long as he has. However, it was his more recent stop in Tennessee that almost became his breakthrough moment. The first start of his career didn’t come until the final two games of the 2022 season — after he was committed to the Tennessee Titans. In the final three minutes of a Week 18 clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, Dobbs was hit from behind by blitz safety Rayshawn Jenkins as he dropped back to throw, fumbled it forward, where it was picked up by Josh Allen and returned for the game-winning touchdown. That fumble slammed Tennessee’s playoff door. Now Dobbs has the Vikings on an upward trajectory in the NFC North after their fifth straight win and has an opportunity to redeem himself for last year’s blunder.
If there’s any justice in the world, Dobbs will lead Minnesota on a playoff run while Deshaun Watson, the quarterback Dobbs kept a clipboard in the preseason, continues his regression as a quarterback. Through a combination of negligent planning and karma, Cleveland traded Dobbs to Arizona in exchange for a measly fifth round pick. Since arriving in Minnesota from Arizona nearly two weeks ago in exchange for a sixth- and seventh-round pick in 2024, Dobbs has made a mockery of all the agonizing players about the task of digesting NFL playbooks. In Week 1, Dobbs took the field after an injury to quarterback Jaren Hall and went on to lead the Vikings to a comeback victory despite only having days to get to know his receivers.
Dobbs, handed the reins from the start against New Orleans after his first full week of practice, rolled the good times to the tune of 312 total yards and two touchdowns in a 27-19 victory. To see another player who cost his franchise a seventh-round pick in the middle of the season start a magical run through the rest of the schedule is a sight we’ve seen before with Brock Purdy saw.
Minnesota may not have the upside as the 49ers roster, but Justin Jefferson will return from injury in the coming weeks. Dobbs has been around the block much longer than Purdy, but this is the first time he’s had an opportunity to thrive and play. Two games don’t make a season, but Dobbs is already getting buzz for Comeback Player of the Year. But how does one even have a comeback if they never showed up?
In two games as a Viking, Dobbs has become almost a mythological figure, making alchemy inside and outside the pocket. When he is run donuts around the defense and fading the memory of Kirk Cousins, it’s clear the Vikings have something special brewing.
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