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Lunchbreak: Joshua Dobbs' Comeback Player Candidacy; Cris Carter's New Role

EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs is quickly climbing into NFL Honors conversations.

ESPN examined Dobbs' chances at winning Comeback Player of the Year.

The Joshua Dobbs story could very well be the story of the 2023 NFL season. I've spent a few days trying to decide which part of his story I like best, and I still can't pick because every piece makes the story that much better.

  • Maybe it's because he's a 28-year old journeyman QB finally getting his first chance as a full-time starter and thriving
  • He's also a rocket scientist who interned at NASA while on the Jaguars practice squad a few years ago (NASA has now dubbed him "the Passtronaut," which is one of the best nicknames ever)
  • His TikTok game is elite, including a montage of his incredible play with the Vikings accompanied by Creed's "Higher"
  • Or is it the fact that his 368 rushing yards ranks second among QBs, behind only Lamar Jackson?

The article highlights several reasons why Dobbs has a compelling case for Comeback Player of the Year.

Or maybe it's because he's replacing Kirk Cousins on a team with playoff aspirations and is 2-0 — including an upset win where he was thrown into action and hadn't taken a single snap with his new OL after being with the team for four days.

Or is it the fact that this isn't even the biggest upset he's pulled this season, having beaten the Cowboys as double-digit underdogs to give the Cardinals their first win of the season and cause chaos in survivor pools nationwide?

The 28-year old phenom has been on seven teams in his seven-year career, including five in the last calendar year. His first career touchdown came in December. And now he has the Vikings at 6-4, riding a five-game winning streak, just 1.5 games out of first in the division.

The story included Damar Hamlin, Tua Tagovailoa, Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers and Baker Mayfield as other possible winners.

Click here to read the full ESPN story.

Dobbs and T.J. Hockenson quickly connect

Coming off a season-high 11-catch, 134-yard performance, Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson is showing a clear connection with quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

Dave Campbell with The Associated Press wrote about some time Hockenson and Dobbs were able to spend together before becoming teammates.

T.J. Hockenson has found a summer home in Tennessee, where a small group of NFL players spearheaded by his close friend tight end George Kittle train together between seasons.

The sessions take place at Kittle's 75-acre property outside of Nashville, where there's a workout facility in a remodeled barn and a football field in the San Francisco 49ers star's yard. The group brings in their own physical therapists and speed and strength specialists, too.

Sometimes, Joshua Dobbs joins them.

Little did he know this casual connection made in recent summers would form the foundation for one of the NFL's most productive passing duos.

Over two games with the Minnesota Vikings, Dobbs has targeted Hockenson 27 times. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (30) is the only player in the league with more over that span, according to Sportradar data. More than 40% of Minnesota's passes went to Hockenson in Weeks 9-10, the third-highest rate in the NFL.

Campbell highlighted a third-and-5 play Sunday in the second quarter against the Saints as a prime example as to how Dobbs-to-Hockenson has quickly become a focal point of the Vikings offense.

Dobbs outran two pass rushers to his right to avoid a sack before firing an off-balance throw to Hockenson.

The two-time Pro Bowl tight end freelanced to find open space once Dobbs left the pocket, made a leaping catch and plowed forward rugby-style through the defense for a 24-yard gain. The Vikings scored the tiebreaking touchdown two plays later.

ESPN names Addison a top 5 rookie

More than halfway through the season, the 2023 NFL rookie class is starting to show why it could become a memorable one.

Vikings receiver Jordan Addison leads all rookies in receiving touchdowns and has stepped up in five games without star Justin Jefferson. Because of that, ESPN named him the fifth best rookie thus far from the 2023 draft.

Addison has exploded in the past five games for the Vikings, who have had to play without superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring). Addison has caught 26 receptions for 354 yards with four touchdowns since Week 6. He is living up to his pre-draft hype as an NFL-ready prospect and is on pace for an All-Rookie season — and maybe the Pro Bowl — if his numbers continue at their current pace.

Click here to find out where quarterback C.J. Stroud and Lions tight end Sam LaPorta rank.

Cris Carter Joins FAU football staff

Pro Football Hall of Famer and Vikings Ring of Honor receiver Cris Carter has joined the Florida Atlantic University football staff as the Executive Director of Player Engagement, the school announced Wednesday.

"We are thrilled and very excited to welcome Cris Carter to the Florida Atlantic Football Family," said Hagerty Family Head Football Coach Tom Herman. "His knowledge and experience will help our program immensely through mentoring our players, providing an NFL mindset and logic to decision making, and also making a huge impact on our #TriCountyTakeover recruiting."