When Josh Dobbs was going 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 narrative since he enrolled at Tennessee as a 4.0 student with an interest in aeronautical engineering.
The act of visualizing and memorizing playbooks is one of the most difficult aspects of playing quarterback in the NFL. Dobbs has made a joke out of voluminous 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 tacked on 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 cling to his career as long as he has. However, it was his more recent stop in Tennessee that nearly became his breakthrough moment. The first starts of his career didn’t come until the final two games of the 2022 season—after he latched onto 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 blitzing 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 shut. 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 held a clipboard for 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 almost two weeks ago in exchange for a sixth and seventh round pick in 2024, Dobbs has made a mockery of all the fretting players do over the task of digesting NFL playbooks. In Week 1, Dobbs took the field after an injury to backup quarterback Jaren Hall and proceeded to lead the Vikings to a comeback win despite having only days to get to know his receivers.
Handed the reins from the start against New Orleans after his first full week of practice, Dobbs let the good times roll to the tune of 312 total yards and two touchdowns in a 27-19 win. Watching another player who cost his franchise a seventh round pick emerging mid-season to embark on a magical run through the remainder of the schedule is a sight we’ve seen before with Brock Purdy.
Minnesota may not have the upside that the 49ers roster did, but they will have Justin Jefferson returning from injury in the coming weeks. Dobbs has been around the block much longer than Purdy, but this is the first time he’s been given an opportunity to flourish and play. Two games doesn’t make a season, but Dobbs is already receiving buzz for Comeback Player of the Year. But how does one even have a comeback when they’d never arrived?
In two games as a Viking, Dobbs has almost become a mythological figure making alchemy from inside and outside the pocket. When he’s running donuts around the defense and fading the memory of Kirk Cousins, it’s clear the Vikings have something special brewing.
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