EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings solidified their immediate path at quarterback Tuesday following the loss of Kirk Cousins, naming rookie Jaren Hall their starter for at least one week and acquiring veteran Joshua Dobbs from the Arizona Cardinals as his likely backup.
Pending Dobbs passing a physical, the Vikings would acquire him and a conditional seven-round pick in the 2024 draft for a 2024 sixth-round pick. The conditional pick can become a sixth-round selection based on Dobbs’ playing time, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The moves came after a whirlwind 48 hours in which team officials discussed multiple short- and long-term plans at the position in response to Cousins’ season-ending right Achilles injury. Ultimately, they settled on an immediate approach that gives them “multiple guys that we feel we can go out and win with,” coach Kevin O’Connell said.
“The way I really see it as, hopefully, Jaren goes out and plays great on Sunday [against the Atlanta Falcons] and there’s a lot to build off of there,” O’Connell added. “We’re still going to prepare Josh Dobbs like he’s not only one snap away, but just as we move forward, evaluate what gives us the best possible chance to win.”
The timing of Cousins’ injury left the Vikings thin at the position with veteran backup Nick Mullens on injured reserve because of a back ailment. The only other quarterback in the building was Sean Mannion, who was added to the practice squad when Mullens was injured. But the Vikings are still hoping to contend for a playoff spot after pulling their record even at 4-4, and team officials believed they needed a better option behind Hall than Mannion.
Dobbs started the Cardinals’ first eight games, throwing for 1,569 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions, while starter Kyler Murray continued his rehabilitation from a knee injury. The Cardinals are 1-7 this season.
“Just want to thank Josh for his contributions. He came in, battled, he’s an ultimate pro,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said Tuesday. “What he did for us and our team, can’t thank him enough. Josh is excited for the opportunity to go to Minnesota and go play. We’re excited for him.”
O’Connell had said Monday that the Vikings would consider adding a more prominent quarterback if they could do it within the “dual worlds” of their competitive rebuild, an approach designed to remain in playoff contention while overhauling the roster. Dobbs would not necessarily figure into their future plans, but his acquisition also did not extract the kind of resources the Vikings hope to use to build their 2024 team and beyond.
Cousins is a pending free agent, and O’Connell notably talked Tuesday about the possibility of re-signing him this spring despite the injury.
“We talked about different things and had great dialogue internally,” O’Connell said, “and just wanted to make sure that we gave ourselves the opportunity to really go in a lot of directions with the position, including [the fact that] Kirk Cousins is going to be healthy again. I know he’s going to be a free agent after this season, but Kirk knows how I feel about him and that will be something that hopefully works itself out.
“This immediate solution that we found provides us with a really quality player at a time when we were able to go out and get that player without potentially leaving the world of the future and the now. We were able to accomplish the goal of both, and I think help our football team.”
Asked if he wants Cousins back next season, O’Connell said: “Yeah, you guys know how I feel about Kirk. Kirk knows how I feel about Kirk. I think he was playing as well as anybody in the National Football League and one of the hardest parts about coping with this … [is] the fact that he was experiencing his best season in the National Football League and where we could have gone as a team. Hopefully, we are still going to get to that place. But I know without Kirk Cousins and that high level quarterback play we were getting from him week in and week out, it’s going a challenge, but one that we’ve got to accept and try to thrive.”
Cousins suffered the injury Sunday in the Vikings’ 24-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Hall completed three of four passes for 23 yards while also losing a fumble on a sack.
Gannon had announced Monday that Dobbs would not be starting this Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns. A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Arizona is planning to start rookie Clayton Tune. Gannon, however, said Monday that there’s a chance Murray could start as he continues to ramp up his return from ACL surgery.
Gannon said the timing of Murray’s return to the field will be dictated more by the Cardinals than by whom they’re playing. Murray’s 21-day window to practice after being designated to return from the physically unable to play list will close Nov. 8, days before Arizona hosts the Falcons.
ESPN Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.
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