The Minnesota Vikings have had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them during this 2023 NFL season. In their latest chapter yesterday against the Atlanta Falcons, rookie QB Jaren Hall suffered a concussion and was taken out of the game in the first quarter. That left it up to newly acquired QB Joshua Dobbs to finish the job.
Well, not only did Dobbs get the job done, he led a game-winning touchdown drive for the Vikings. That gave Minnesota their fourth straight win and firm control of the final wild-card spot in the NFC. Now, they have a chance to make history.
If the Minnesota Vikings can hold their position in the NFC, they can be in rare company. Remember, they started this season 0-3. Many started thinking last year’s 13-win season was a fluke.
At the time, there was good reason to be skeptical. Only five teams have made the playoffs after starting a season 0-3. The only one to do so in the last 25 years was the Houston Texans in 2018. They won their next nine games after starting that season 0-3.
Admittedly, the Vikings have a couple of key factors in their favor that these other teams did not have. There is an extra playoff spot available for them. Plus, there is an extra game in the regular season now for teams like this to have a chance to recover from a slow start.
Minnesota has certainly been taking advantage of this and has needed to do so. Not only did they start 0-3, but they fell to 1-4 right after securing their first win of the season. However, since then, they managed to win their last four games.
As stated above, the Vikings have had about everything thrown at them that they could handle. It started with star WR Justin Jefferson suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been out since then. However, reports have come out since then that he may be able to return in the next couple of weeks.
Then, arguably, the biggest blow the Vikings took this year was losing franchise QB Kirk Cousins. He is likely out for the season with a torn Achilles. That resulted in the Minnesota Vikings trading for Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals as insurance for that position.
To their surprise, they needed that insurance a lot sooner than expected. Because Dobbs just got to Minnesota and did not take practice snaps with the starters before this game, they started Jaren Hall over him. Unfortunately, they needed Dobbs sooner than expected because Hall suffered a concussion in the first quarter against the Falcons.
Luckily, Dobbs is not afraid of these kinds of spots. Dobbs has been on five different teams just in the last two seasons. He started the first eight games of 2023 for the Cardinals. Yesterday, he had 158 passing yards and two touchdown passes. The latter ended up being the game-winner.
Looking Ahead For the Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings will have to stay sharp as they get ready to host the New Orleans Saints next week. Right now, they lead the NFC South. Minnesota also still has to play the Detroit Lions twice this season. However, they have four games left against teams under .500 to pad some wins.