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Saints defense to face familiar test in Vikings QB Joshua Dobbs

Joshua Dobbs
Photo courtesy of Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images.

In a pivotal Week 10 showdown, the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, perched at a 5-4 record, face off with more than just a win in Sunday’s matchup. With the NFC playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Vikings seek to extend their surging momentum from a four-game winning streak that resurrected their season aspirations after a shaky start. The Saints, clutching the reins of the NFC South after a fortuitous combination of their victory and the stumbles of division rivals, the Falcons and the Buccaneers, approach this game with a heightened sense of urgency. Initially, the sidelining of Vikings’ starting quarterback Kirk Cousins with a season-ending injury was seen as a tipping point for the Saints, simplifying their defensive game plan.

But the Vikings’ prompt acquisition of Joshua Dobbs from the Cardinals — a calculated move costing them a 2024 sixth-round pick — has potentially upended the Saints’ expectations. Thrust unexpectedly into the fray due to Jaren Hall’s concussion, Dobbs’ inaugural Viking performance was a spectacle; overcoming limited playbook familiarity, he spearheaded a thrilling come-from-behind victory against the Falcons. With 158 passing yards, two touchdowns through the air, and a commanding ground presence with an additional rushing touchdown, Dobbs has rapidly transformed from a stopgap to a standout.

The Saints, led defensively by Dennis Allen, have historically struggled against quarterbacks who blur the lines between rusher and passer, as evidenced by Jalen Hurts’ century of rushing yards in his career debut in 2020. Even recently, an undrafted rookie, Tyson Bagent, momentarily found success with his legs against the Saints’ defense. With his mobile skillset, Dobbs looms as a familiar specter of threat — one that the Saints must analyze and tactically overcome to secure their standing in a tightly contested NFC landscape.

Joshua Dobbs’ journey through the NFL is a tale of resilience and adaptability, qualities that have come to define his tenure as a quarterback in the league. Since being drafted in 2018 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dobbs’ career has been characterized by a nomadic search for the right fit, with chapters in Tennessee with the Titans and a pivotal role in Arizona with the Cardinals before his latest turn with the Minnesota Vikings.

Over his seven-year career, Dobbs has established himself as one of the premier backup dual-threat quarterbacks, an efficient passer with the agility and intelligence to keep plays alive and defenses on their toes. His most recent tenure as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals showcased his ability to elevate a team’s competitive edge, amassing 1,569 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions over the season. Dobbs kept the Cardinals in striking distance even in losses, a testament to his resolve and skill.

However, the Cardinals’ upset over the then-undefeated Dallas Cowboys catapulted Dobbs into the spotlight. Against a team that many had presumed would coast to an easy victory, Dobbs and the Cardinals defied expectations. Completing 17 of 21 passes, he racked up 189 yards and threw for two touchdowns, achieving a quarterback rating of 120. The game against the Cowboys was not just a routine win; it was a statement that even as a backup, Dobbs could command the field with the poise and precision of a seasoned starter. As he prepares to face the Saints, Dobbs brings not just his arm and his legs to the equation but a proven track record of disrupting the established narrative — a quality the Saints’ defense must be wary of.

The New Orleans Saints defense stands at a critical juncture as they prepare for their showdown with Joshua Dobbs and the Minnesota Vikings. A pattern of lethargic starts has been a blemish on their season, with the defense frequently finding its footing only after halftime adjustments. The Saints cannot afford such a tepid beginning to avoid a dismal Sunday outcome. Success hinges on maintaining gap integrity—every defensive line and linebacker corps member must adhere strictly to their assignments, anticipating Dobbs’ propensity for unpredictability when he slings the pigskin.

Their discipline will be put to the test not only by Dobbs’ dual-threat capability but also by his cadre of reliable targets. Rookie wideout Jordan Addison’s speed, route acumen, and the sure hands of tight end T.J. Hockenson present a multifaceted challenge for the Saints’ secondary. For the Saints to emerge victorious, they must bring a level of execution from the first whistle that has, thus far, only been seen in the latter halves of their games.

As the New Orleans Saints gear up for the clash against the Minnesota Vikings, the stakes are high, and the implications are profound. This matchup is more than just a game; it’s a precursor for the Saints as they embark on the more daunting segment of their 2023 schedule. Up to this point, their adversaries have been mainly teams unlikely to make playoff appearances, but the Vikings represent the caliber of opponent the Saints have yet to consistently best. This confrontation offers a genuine litmus test, pitting them against a team with similar aspirations and standing. Victory here is essential—it would serve as a testament to the Saints’ true potential as contenders and set a tone of resilience and prowess for the challenging contests that loom on the horizon.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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