The honeymoon period is over for Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings.
The Minnesota newcomer embraced his new surroundings in the opening three weeks of his tenure in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Dobbs led the Vikes to two wins in his first three games, striking up quite the partnership with T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison, among others. Kirk Cousins’ injury proved a major albatross on the Vikings’ year. Dobbs’ early showcases seemed to indicate that it wouldn’t be fatal.
My, how things have changed over the past two games. Dobbs’ displays have atrophied in recent weeks, so much so that his grip on the Minnesota starting job is no more.
MORE: Get the latest injury updates on Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Here’s what you need to know.
What happened to Joshua Dobbs?
Dobbs’ status atop the quarterbacking hierarchy in Minnesota lasted all of four weeks. The reason why? A downturn in his own performances.
Things deteriorated in Week 13, when Dobbs fired four passes into opposition arms against the Bears. Chicago needed little more than field goals to vanquish its NFC North rival, defeating the Vikes 12-10.
It was a shock result. The performance was even more damning. The Bears possess one of the league’s worst passing defenses, having conceded 24 scores so far. For Dobbs to struggle so mightily, especially with an attack spearheaded by Hockenson and Addison, cast doubts over his ability to lead the Purple People Eaters going forward.
“We’re going to take a look and really evaluate the inventory of plays we have of Josh,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said postgame, per ESPN. “We got healthy. We got Jaren [Hall] back available to us, and then Nick Mullens is available as well.”
Surprises do happen, however. A clash with the lowly Raiders awaited Minnesota in Week 14. Surely it couldn’t get worse. Could it?
MORE: Why certain NFL players have green dots on their helmet
In a word, yes, it could. The Vikings defense painted another masterpiece, holding the Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs-led attack to crumbs. Unfortunately for them, Dobbs and Co. were similar ineffective; the sidewinder completed just 10-of-23 passes for 63 yards.
With the game approaching crunch time and Minnesota in desperate need of a win, O’Connell made the switch. He pulled Dobbs in favor of Mullens.
The change was a welcome one: Mullens went 9-of-13 for 83 yards, leading the Vikings to victory.
That was enough to get Mullens another crack at the starting gig; Minnesota announced its intentions to hand the reins of the offense to Mullens once more in Week 15.
More than that, Dobbs isn’t second-string, either. That responsibility was doled out to Hall, who returns to the fore after sustaining an injury, then being supplanted by Dobbs, in his first career start.
“Jaren’s fully healthy now,” O’Connell said. “Has really gotten back on the grass and really worked through his continued development. [We] wanted him to go about the week kinda simulating as if he was playing.”
It seems the Passtronaut’s time under the sun could be coming to a close. With his displays souring in recent weeks, maybe that’s a good thing for the Vikings’ postseason hopes.