The Vikings QB Contract No One is Talking about in Minnesota

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of people think that keeping incumbent Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is the best move. Still others are looking toward a 2024 draft that’s stuffed to the gills with QB talent. And then there are those (raises virtual hand) who think that doing both — re-signing Cousins and drafting a QB high — is the way to go.

Within all of this discussion, there is nary a word about Mr. Joshua Dobbs.

For a little while, Dobbs was looking like he could pry away the quarterback spot from all challengers. He’s super smart and still only 28. Partner those realities with some obvious athleticism and some great compete and things were looking good. After all, he pulled off a stunning victory over the Falcons and then did enough to topple the Saints.

The Vikings QB Contract No One is Talking About

Unless something truly unforeseen happens, though, Joshua Dobbs is done playing football in Minnesota. Not just for 2023, but for 2024 and onward.

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) warms up before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No doubt, there were some inspiring moments, but those were largely overshadowed by the consistent inability to get the pigskin to an elite array of skill from Denver onward. Whoever is under center in Minnesota needs to give the WRs and TEs a shot. Dobbs wasn’t getting it done.

Now, that doesn’t mean his time with the Vikings was a failure. Far from it. Given that the price of acquisition involved merely swapping a 6th and a 7th, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did just fine. The incoming QB went .500 before getting yanked in the Raiders game. And in Las Vegas, the Vikings still pulled off the win.

So, things could have been far worse. Joshua Dobbs should be remembered as a wonderful success in Minnesota even if benching him was the right move.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Mr. Dobbs (very likely) finishes his Vikings career while having completed 62.9% of his passes for 895 yards. He did so while picking up 5 TDs and 5 INTs. The passing stats live alongside 163 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 6 fumbles.

Is someone going to pay a boatload for him during free agency? The short answer: not likely.

The longer answer is a touch more complex. Teams regularly take leave of their senses in free agency. March is, after all, silly season. Millions get tossed around willy-nilly as franchises try to sell their fanbases on hope and desperate executives try to save their jobs. Inspiring so much of the craziness is the reality of an NFL that demands elite QB play to find consistent success but a clear shortage of truly elite QBs.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings center Garrett Bradbury (56) and quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) hug after a victory against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Even a high-end backup or a bridge veteran can make pretty good money.

Think back to last season when the Rams took on Baker Mayfield in a sinking season. The QB then brought his talent to Tampa Bay for a single season and $4 million; Over the Cap projects that LA will receive a 6th-round pick in the compensatory selections system. Not a bad move for LA, all things considered.

Meanwhile, the broader landscape of contracts for mid-level QBs is littered with some head-scratching numbers.

Currently, Tyrod Taylor is demanding $6.9 million in cap space, Mitchell Trubisky comes in a touch above $6 million, Sam Darnold rises above $5.7 million, and Taylor Heinicke finds himself at $5.7 million (a number that swells to $9 million in 2024). The point, folks, is that the NFL regularly hands out pretty chunky deals to QBs who aren’t particularly inspiring. A QB2 can make himself tremendously wealthy (at least by a normal person’s standards).

Sure, the Vikings lost a bit of draft value to get Dobbs to town, but don’t be surprised if Adofo-Mensah was playing chess with that pick swap. Bring in a QB while also opening an avenue for gaining another pick down the road. Seeing a team give a hefty contract to Dobbs may bring that precise possibility to fruition.

Minnesota moves into 2024 with Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall under contract. Kirk Cousins has a great shot at coming back and the draft does offer some excellent talent. And while Joshua Dobbs is almost guaranteed to be going elsewhere, Minnesota still has a shot to benefit via the NFL’s compensatory selections process.

Dobbs, in short, may help Minnesota one more time.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.