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Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell non-committal to Josh Dobbs remaining starter

All the magic surrounding Joshua Dobbs' arrival in Minnesota might well have vanished on Monday night.

After Dobbs threw four interceptions in the Vikings' 12-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, Minnesota head coach Kevin O'Connell was non-committal to Dobbs remaining his starter while pledging to an evaluation ahead at the position.

"We're going to take a look, you know really evaluate the inventory of plays now we have of Josh," O'Connell answered when asked if he would consider a quarterback change.

Dobbs finished Monday's loss completing 22 of 32 passes for 185 yards, the four interceptions and a 17-yard touchdown to T.J. Hockenson in the fourth quarter. Despite all his tribulations, Dobbs looked to have put the Vikings in position for another nail-biting win before Justin Fields, who had fumbled away possession twice late in the game, rallied the Bears down the field for a win.

Despite the INT issues -- which weren't all on him as Jordan Addison let one go off his hands to a defender -- Dobbs said he was not focusing on whether the takeaways will result in him heading back to the bench.

"Honestly, I think that's a coaching decision, but, no I don't," Dobbs said. "I just focus on myself, focus on how I can help this team win, focus on how I can be a better teammate, a better quarterback and focus on how I can make sure the offense is in the right play based on the scenario to go out and execute and play at a high level."

Just a few days after he was acquired via trade from the Arizona Cardinals, Dobbs exploded into the headlines when the journeyman QB guided the Vikings past the Atlanta Falcons for a victory on Nov. 5. A week later, another dramatic win was had against the New Orleans Saints.

However, Monday stands as the Vikings' second consecutive loss, with Dobbs having turned the ball over a combined six times in the defeats and countered with just two touchdown passes. Those six giveaways since Week 11 are tied for the most in the NFL in that span with the Detroit Lions' Jared Goff.

While Dobbs and the Vikings' fortunes have changed, so too has the health of Jaren Hall, the rookie QB who Dobbs filled in for after he was concussed against the Falcons, and veteran backup Nick Mullens, who was available off injured reserve Monday.

"We got healthy, we've got Jaren back available to us, and then Nick Mullens is available as well," O'Connell said.

O'Connell admitted he mulled over inserting Mullens on Monday, but stuck with Dobbs.

"It started to get to the point where I was trying to think almost what would give us a spark, maybe throughout the game, we've got the sudden change on that turnover, and then Josh took us down the field for a touchdown," O'Connell said. "As much as the turnovers absolutely cripple you, offensively, I still thought Josh battled, no flinch, and just kept playing and competing to try to help us win. I really credit him doing that, it's hard to do on a night where you've turned the football over. This guy's a competitor."

However, Dobbs' performance Monday was evidence as to why he hasn't stuck with all his previous organizations such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Cardinals.

He's able to jump-start an offense, but in each case he's sputtered after a while.

"At the end of the day," Dobbs said, "when the ball's in my hand and guys are opening, I'm gonna keep shooting, keep throwing the ball to where it needs to go and we'll clean up everything else from there."

The Vikings kept winning after Justin Jefferson went down with a hamstring injury. Now he's likely to be activated off injured reserve by Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Monday. They kept winning after Kirk Cousins was lost for the season and Hall briefly took over before Dobbs flew onto the scene.

Now, Minnesota sits at 6-6 heading into its bye week, precariously clutching to the No. 7 seed in the NFC.

Before they recommence their season in Week 14 against the Las Vegas Raiders, O'Connell will decide if Hall or Mullens is best for the future or whether he believes Dobbs has some more tricks up his sleeve.

"Look, I think what Josh Dobbs has really done coming in here on short notice and really going 2-2 in a stretch where a lot of people might have thought Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson being out, the deck's stacked against us," O'Connell said. "That's not the way that this team thinks, it's not the way we operate, it's not the way I operate, we're trying to go out and win every football game we play. And we're going to evaluate what we've been able to do, things we need to get better at, and we'll take a look at what that looks like."

Has Dobbs' feel-good story's final chapter been written in the Twin Cities? It appears that's a decision O'Connell will pen in the bye week ahead.

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