The man studied rocket science in college and interned at NASA. This serves as important context when analyzing Joshua Dobbs’ debut as Vikings quarterback. He’s literally the smartest guy in the room.
Even so, five former quarterbacks could only marvel Monday at what Dobbs did in engineering (pun intended) a 31-28 comeback win over Atlanta five days after joining the team.
Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton gushed that the circumstances made Dobbs’ performance “impossible” given the complex nature of the quarterback position.
“There’s no way that anybody could have done what he did and put 30-plus points on the board and win the game with 20 seconds left on a long drive,” Tarkenton said by phone Monday morning. “You can’t do it. Impossible. It didn’t happen. It was a dream of yours and mine.”
He had only a few days to learn the playbook after arriving mid-week. He didn’t know teammates’ names. He didn’t take any reps in practice. He had never taken a snap from his center. He hurriedly went over cadences with his linemen on the sideline before his first play. He was playing on the road in a noisy stadium without the team’s best receiver and starting left tackle, with injuries piling up around him.
Given all that adversity, Tarkenton joked that if he had been in coach Kevin O’Connell’s shoes, “I would throw my hands up.”
And O’Connell did — in celebration.
Dobbs calmly lifted the Vikings to a season high in points by accounting for three touchdowns, including a game-winning pass with 22 seconds left. “It’s kind of Cinderella story,” said former Gophers and Denver Broncos quarterback Adam Weber. “A once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity that he just did.”
Teams use OTAs (organized team activities), minicamps and training camp as an indoctrination period in learning schemes. They get months of rehearsal time. Dobbs had only a few…