Vikings return from bye week, so who plays QB at Las Vegas?

Joshua Dobbs #15 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 05, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings’ bye week is over, and the team is holding a light practice Monday afternoon at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

The Vikings are coming off two straight losses and head to Las Vegas to face the Raiders Sunday afternoon. They’re currently in fourth in the AFC West at 5-7, and on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.

Minnesota is still very much in the thick of things in the NFC Playoff chase, in the No. 6 spot at 6-6 ahead of the Green Bay Packers by virtue of their win at Lambeau Field earlier this season. That’s also the same game Kirk Cousins went down for the season with a torn Achilles, as he was playing some of the best football of his career.

With five games to play, the biggest question will be who takes the field at quarterback for the Vikings? After losing to the Bears on Monday Night Football, coach Kevin O’Connell did not fully commit to Joshua Dobbs being the starter the rest of the season, saying, "we’ll evaluate everything."

So here’s a look at the three options the Vikings have:

  • Joshua Dobbs – Dobbs is 2-2 with the Vikings, becoming the feel-good story of the NFL after leading Minnesota to a comeback win at Atlanta. But Dobbs threw four interceptions against the Bears, and has five in four games with Minnesota. Dobbs also has six fumbles, and has lost three of them. He has eight total touchdowns with the Vikings, and gives the offense a dimension it hasn’t previously had with his mobility. But O’Connell may not have a choice but to make a change because of the turnovers.
  • Jaren Hall – The rookie got his first NFL start at Atlanta, and was leading a promising drive on the first offensive series before taking a big hit just short of the goal line and leaving the game with a concussion. That’s what started the Dobbs era. Hall was 5-of-6 for 78 yards before leaving the game, and looked poised running an offense that O’Connell tweaked to suit his ability. The short answer is we don’t know what Hall’s potential is, we don’t yet have enough of a sample size.
  • Nick Mullens – Nick Mullens was the back-up to Cousins, but was on injured reserve due to back injury that’s now healed. He was the No. 2 against the Bears if Dobbs went down. Mullens has experience that Hall lacks, but has yet to throw a pass in a game this season.

It’s a pivotal decision for O’Connell to make with five games to play and a spot in the NFC Playoffs still at stake. Those five opponents are the Raiders, the Bengals, the Lions (twice) and the Packers.