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Monday Morning Mailbag: Fan Reactions to Improbable Win at Falcons

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The Vikings won their fourth game in a row, earning an improbable 31-28 victory over the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday. Minnesota improved to 5-4 thanks to an incredible Vikings debut by Joshua Dobbs, who relieved Jaren Hall after the rookie QB suffered a concussion late in the first quarter.

Dobbs rallied the Vikings from a deficit to tie the game on an 18-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion pass in the third quarter. The Vikings defense forced takeaways on consecutive snaps by the Falcons, forcing and recovering a fumble before the touchdown run by Dobbs and picking off Taylor Heinicke to set up a go-ahead field goal.

After Heinicke and the Falcons run game put Atlanta ahead with a long drive in the fourth, Dobbs escaped a fourth-and-7 with a 22-yard scramble on the way to finding Brandon Powell for the game-winning touchdown.

Unfortunately, the Vikings lost running back Cam Akers to what is believed to be an Achilles injury. Please lift him up the way you have Kirk Cousins as both mend. Akers' day included a pancake block in the land of Waffle House on a scramble by Dobbs. The running back flattened 287-pound defensive lineman Kentavius Street during the run.

Here are some of the reactions from fans to an incredibly wild game. Remember, we'll also include more fan comments in Rehash later today and in Final Thoughts on Friday.

Interesting game; what a drive by Dobbs to take the lead at the end and a great job by the defense to prevent the FG attempt that would tie it. Overall, I felt we had our chances but didn't take full advantage of the scoring opportunities we had; and our defense gave up a long time-consuming TD drive in the fourth quarter to lose the lead and almost the game. Too bad Hall got taken out in the first quarter at the goal line after leading a quality drive. I love his competitiveness but hate our continued sad performance on every level on first downs near the goal line. Here are my 3 Ups and 3 Downs for the game.


  1. Hall's second drive was very nicely done until we got a first down inside the 5-yard line.
  1. Dobbs' play overall. First, the Dobbs-led TD drive at the end of the first half was very nicely done. His sprint up the sideline on third-and-long for a first down inside the 5 was remarkable. Nice TD pass to Mattison to finish. Second, the Dobbs-led third quarter drive for TD and 2-point conversion to tie the game. His scramble for the TD and the pass to [Trishton] Jackson for the 2 points. Nicely done. Third, his game-winning drive to take the lead with 20 seconds left. Wow.
  1. The interception of Heinicke right after we tied it and the FG for the lead. Too bad that couldn't have been a TD off that turnover?


  1. Yet another run for loss on a first down inside the 5? Our continuous, ongoing, and apparently uncorrectable poor performance in the "low red" — both play calling and execution is sure getting old. Please fix it.
  1. Offensive line gives up a safety on third-and-12 from inside the 5. On a 3-man Falcons rush with four Vikings blocking one rusher and one Viking up against their best rusher on the outside? Foolish unforced error.
  1. The Falcons long scoring drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead at the 2-minute warning. I expected so much more from our defense with a lead and the game on the line in the fourth quarter.

A winnable game, and we did. Amazing performance by Dobbs. Looking forward to the "Aints."


— Jeff L.

Hall looked really smooth and comfortable on his second series, leading Minnesota to the 1-yard line when the Vikings moved backward. Unfortunately, he was injured when trying to scramble to get that yardage back and get the ball across the goal line. Maybe the postgame coverage and great storylines from Sunday's game look different if Minnesota scores on that very first snap?

I can't get over the way Dobbs played, given the fact that he hadn't taken many reps, if any with several of the players. He and center Garrett Bradbury took their first snaps together on the sideline as the other offensive linemen worked through Dobbs' cadence. Heck, he didn't even know teammates full names. "That's for this week," he quipped.

It's simply incredible to think a player who was acquired Tuesday ahead of the trade deadline could step into that role and deliver those results. Also, it was impressive that the whole team didn't flinch as Dobbs was getting going on possessions that ended with the safety and a fumble.

For the second week in a row, a dose of complementary football with points off takeaways helped Minnesota in the third quarter.

Don't we need to give a lot of credit to [General Manager] Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah] for smart, intuitive personnel moves? Seeing something in Dobbs when his name was on nobody's list, bringing in Brandon Powell, Byron Murphy, Dalton Risner and others who've made significant contributions, and of course drafting rookie Jordan Addison when most didn't think we needed another receiver. You can name others …

— Rebecca in Baldwin, Wisconsin

The acquisition of Dobbs in less than 48 hours after losing Cousins for the season was quite a window into the way Adofo-Mensah goes about solving problems. There was great collaboration with the personnel department — shoutout to the pro scouting wing for all those additions from other teams — and coaching staff regarding players who could be available and compensation.

Minnesota traded for Dobbs without mortgaging his future, and a team that seemed to really be coming together with three consecutive wins was able to add some incredible play-making ability and experience.

Powell and Murphy were at the center of big plays Sunday and have strengthened the Vikings offense and special teams (Powell) and defense (Murphy) this season.

How about Addison's catch on the sideline? He's got major toe drag swag.

First of all, welcome to the Vikings, Josh Dobbs, and great job leading the team to a victory in the face of adversity! Can we talk about the year Danielle Hunter is having? It has to be Defensive MVP caliber. I know he won Defensive Player of the Month last month, but I don't feel like he is getting the props from the media he deserves for the season he's having, considering he's still leading the league in sacks to go along with his really strong play in run defense. Skol Vikings! Great team win when dealing with all the adversity and wishing everyone dealing with injuries a speedy recovery!

— Brian Bassett

We have Danielle featured on the cover of the Vikings-Saints Playbook next week, and we'll have the digital version of that story posting this week.

But I definitely agree with you that Hunter flies under the radar a bit here in — other people's words, not mine — "flyover country." He has remained so humble and a tremendous teammate through it all and is a giant factor in this year's success.

What a game. You would think one gets used to this after so many times, but I feel as drained as after my first Vikings game.

Well, I am glad to say, I believe I was wrong. I didn't think we had much of a way to win this game. Especially not after Hall was out, but I didn't believe it before either. I don't know the official numbers, but when I checked the play-by-play charts, we had around 6.5 yards to go for our average third down. Cousins did a great Job, but I just saw no chance for any other QB to convert those consistently. I mean, third-and-long, there are like 3 QBs in the league I would trust to convert more often than not. But it was more of the same [Sunday], long (as far as I can count nearly 7.5 yards per third down), and we still converted enough to sustain drives. It's a ridiculous win, and I have no Idea how often we can repeat those games, but I still loved what I saw from our team

Now for the bad, nothing that happened in the Game was as important as the health of the players. I hope none sustained bad injuries with long-term problems. Especially [K.J.] Osborn looked bad, and I hope he is OK. I wish all the best to our players, hopefully none take long-term problems out of the game.

SKOL Vikes!

— Alexander Markhart

I'd recommend staying away from third-and-longs as much as possible, especially on the road, but the Vikings were able to overcome some of those.

Both Hall and Dobbs present more of a threat to run than Cousins would have, so that will be an interesting wrinkle to watch and see how it impacts an already impressive passing attack. That mobility also can help on days when the traditional run game is slogging along.

Appreciate the thoughts for everyone who left the game or played through something. The hit on Osborn was tough to see, but it was incredibly encouraging that he was upright and giving thumbs up as he left the field on a cart.

Powell played through cramps, and O'Connell said Hockenson was a warrior through an oblique/rib injury.

View postgame celebration photos from the Vikings - win over the Falcons in Week 9 of the 2023 season.

So Jaren's coming out party was short lived and sadly, because of his concussion, it may be another couple weeks before we see him again. That is if Josh gives him a chance. That's a big if, too. Considering Josh just got in town Tuesday, he played pretty well. And his mobility adds a much-needed wrinkle to our offense. Defense kept us in the game for sure with huge stops forcing field goals. And the takeaways were clutch. The only blemish being the fourth quarter drive that we couldn't stop the run. Overall, great road win to make it four in a row. All without [Justin Jefferson]. Maybe he should rest longer? Let me think about that. No. The way we've been playing, I can't wait for J.J. to be back!


— J.B. Brunet

It seems like so many players have raised their games in the absence of Jefferson (and then Sunday, in the team's first game without Cousins because of an injury). That's really impressive, but it will be equally important to strive for that when Jefferson does return and avoid the "bystander effect."

View game action photos from he Vikings vs. Falcons Week 9 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

SISU!!! Will, determination, perseverance. Add intelligence. How many QBs can come in with such minimal time and practice?


— Noel in Bayfield, Wisconsin

David Quessenberry, who found out Sunday morning he'd be starting at left tackle in place of Christian Darrisaw, said it was the "grimiest" road win he had ever been a part of. The poise and determination were on display time and time again.

Major credit to Hall, who was looking sharp, and Dobbs for the volume that they handled with a short amount of preparation.

And definitely need to send some laurels to the Vikings assistant coaches who prepped the QBs and designed the plan.

Note: this email was sent on Saturday before the game, but I wanted to include it today.

I have a comment, a question, a prediction and a request.

Comment: The Vikings have won three straight in Atlanta. Including 1-0 at the new (2017) stadium.

Us long time Viking fans remember with fondness, a game or two, when the original Purple People Eaters defense would occasionally outscore the Viking offense en route to a 10-6 or 13-7 style victory.

Question: When is the last time the Vikings defense performed that winning maneuver?

Confessing I do not remember when this last happened.

The segue to prediction.

The Flores D shows big Sunday. Outscoring the Kirk-less offense in route to a statement victory.

Note for Mr. Flores.

Sir, please remain in Minnesota for many years.

— "Vic King"

Note to editor. In case of loss. Break glass and burn my babble.

Fran Tarkenton, who spoke to the team the night before the game (and brought the game ball he received from his pro debut in the 1961 inaugural Vikings contest), tells a story of talking with Bud Grant during a game.

I'm paraphrasing, but Fran and Bud were talking through whether to run or pass. Bud said something along the lines about playing three more quarters and thinking the defense wouldn't allow a point.

Bud didn't tell Fran to run or pass, but Fran read between the lines. The Vikings ran the ball and punted, and the defense met Bud's expectations.

The current Vikings defense was put in some incredibly adverse situations, taking the field at its own 1-yard line after a fumble by Dobbs early. Minnesota also took the safety, which resulted in a quick return to the field for the defense, too.

So, I'd say the group showed up big at multiple points.