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Vikings QB Josh Dobbs to start Sunday vs. Raiders

Josh Dobbs is keeping his job for at least one more week.

The Vikings are sticking with the quarterback nicknamed the "Passtronaut" in Week 14, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported. Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell announced Dobbs the starter against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Minnesota considered making a change following its second straight defeat -- and especially after Dobbs had a horrid night in a primetime loss to Chicago -- but with the return of All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson, the Vikings decided to give Dobbs another opportunity with a full cast of weapons.

"I feel great about how our bye week process -- two layers to it," O'Connell explained to reporters Wednesday. "Evaluating kind of where Josh has been as far as immediately providing a spark and helping us win two football games. Then, transitioning to some tough outcomes where there's all kind of things we could do better. We could coach better. 

"Josh has continued comfort in our offense and how we play. Also, our offense and staff's ability to evolve and help Josh thrive is our plan. We are very confident in him. He got off to a great start this week, on Monday with some extra work with the guys and get going. Nick Mullens will be ready to go. We'll prepare Nick like we always do."

The fact Dobbs is able to find success at all in Minnesota is an achievement. He's only been there since the week of the trade deadline, and was called into action less than a week after he arrived in Minnesota. He's exceeded every expectation, and it was only fair to expect he'd regress toward the mean eventually.

Mullens and rookie Jaren Hall don't offer a much higher ceiling than Dobbs, if at all, judging by how Dobbs has performed in 2023 with both the Vikings and the Cardinals, two situations in which he was provided minimal time to prepare. O'Connell is wise in giving Dobbs a chance to show his skills with an elite receiver back in the lineup.

"Can you maintain your progression and finish forward," O'Connell said when asked what he wants to see out of Dobbs. "He has, to your point. Use your legs to steal some first downs, some touchdowns in the red zone. How are we going to be defended in the passing game with Justin. Getting Justin back will be a clear positive for us and how that looks like for the quarterback position. It's a do your job mentality."

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