Getty head coach Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback room is inching closer to full health after dealing with a series of injuries over the last four weeks.
Veteran Nick Mullens was scheduled to return to practice on Wednesday, November 15th, opening a 21-day window for Mullens to be activated to the 53-man roster after being sidelined on October 11th with a lower back injury The Star Tribune landed a list of injured reserve players.
After Kirk Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tendon injury on Oct. 29, Josh Dobbs has steadied a Vikings team that appeared to be in a tough spot. Before Dobbs, Minnesota only had rookie Jaren Hall the week Cousins was on the injured reserve list alongside Mullens.
Dobbs was forced to play just five days after arriving in Minnesota when Hall suffered a concussion in the first quarter of their Week 9 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The Vikings didn’t have another player to wear the green dot on offense this week after emergency quarterback Cam Akers, a running back, tore his Achilles tendon late in the game.
If Dobbs had fallen, there’s no telling what would have happened.
Mullens’ return provides some insurance against something like that happening again after the Vikings used Sean Mannion, a new addition to the practice squad, as the lone backup in a Week 10 win over the New Orleans Saints.
If Mullens is deemed healthy enough to be activated from injured reserve, he will back up Dobbs on Sunday Night Football this week against the Denver Broncos. Hall is considered close to clearing the concussion protocol and could also be a candidate for Sunday’s squad.
Josh Dobbs leaves Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell speechless
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell has been the coordinator since 2018, but even he is just starting to realize the possibilities his offense has with a dual-threat quarterback like Dobbs.
During the Week 10 win over the Saints, O’Connell was caught on the sideline scratching his head as Dobbs improvised a touchdown.
“I don’t even know what just happened,” O’Connell joked on the sidelines of the clip, which was shared by the NFL’s official X (formerly Twitter) account.
Vikings offense continues to evolve with Josh Dobbs
The Vikings have won two straight games with Dobbs also missing Justin Jefferson in both games and KJ Osborn last week.
Minnesota had to change its approach. Dobbs isn’t the pocket passer that Cousins is – but O’Connell is finding new ways to be successful on offense by playing to Dobbs’ strengths.
“It was a truly outstanding day for Josh,” O’Connell said in a Nov. 15 press conference. “And the best part is that we’re all still in the process of getting to know each other and getting to the level of comfort that we can continue to grow this thing to achieve the most success on offense.”
Dobbs has mastered the Vikings’ offense seemingly overnight, and O’Connell has helped him by giving him the green light to make plays with his feet when the play doesn’t go as planned.
“We’re heading into our 11th game now and we’ve spent a lot of time on the practice field that Josh may not have been there for, but he’s learned some of it quickly,” O’Connell said. “We’re trying to kind of meet in the middle and evolve, I think is the right word. “There’s no rule that says you have to stay the same all season.”
Trevor Squire is a sports journalist who covers the Minnesota Vikings for Heavy.com. Trevor studied journalism at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and worked at the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @trevordsquire. More about Trevor Squire
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