EAGAN, Minn. — The NFL and its fans are still processing what quarterback Joshua Dobbs, Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and the Minnesota Vikings pulled off Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Dobbs threw a game-winning touchdown to receiver Brandon Powell with 22 seconds to play as the Vikings won 31-28. Considering the circumstance, Dobbs had some of the greatest players in league history in awe of his performance.
The Star Tribune's Michael Rand recapped the victory and shared what NFL legends Cris Carter, Kurt Warner and others had to say.
Dobbs' ability to improvise and make plays with his feet? Those are football instincts and athletic talent. His ability to decipher enough of the Vikings offense to make clutch throws, including the game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds?
That's what had football legends like Kurt Warner impressed.
Rand shared Warner's tweet which read:
Watched the tape of Vikings. It very much looked like a guy Josh Dobbs that hadn't taken a rep with O, you could see he didn't really know what he was seeing… BUT to be in that situation & FIND enough throws/make enough plays to win an NFL game is beyond impressive!
A great example: Dobbs' game-winning TD throw … a play design he had watched the Vikings run in practice this past week but had never practiced himself. We saw Dobbs throw to the open receiver. Knowing when to throw and who was going to be open on your first rep? That's next-level processing on the fly.
How impressive was it? Here's Hall of Fame Vikings receiver Cris Carter.
Carter's tweet said:
Mad respect for Josh Dobbs, what he did today is hard to understand, unless you've been in the NFL.
The story ends with Rand sharing what two Vikings legends said about Dobbs, plus a tweet from Kirk Cousins.
Another Vikings Hall of Famer, Carl Eller, said he was "inspired" by the performance. Former Vikings QB Tommy Kramer said the "immediate future looks good!" while Cousins himself had a three exclamation point tweet.
Click here to read Rand's full story.
Pioneer Press calls Kevin O'Connell One of the Best
O'Connell is earning praise for his role in the Vikings comeback victory. Though the second-year head coach always first credits players for their ability to execute, O'Connell is the team's play caller and was instructing Dobbs before and after each play on Sunday.
Pioneer Press reporter Dane Mizutani wrote:
There have been so many examples of that from O'Connell over the past couple of seasons with the Vikings. Whether it was the utterly nonsensical win over the Buffalo Bills, the historic comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts, the impressive prime-time win over the San Francisco 49ers or any of the other 15 wins in between coaching the Vikings, he has consistently proven himself worthy of the position he currently holds.
His performance in guiding the Vikings to a seemingly impossible win over the Falcons, however, proved O'Connell is among the best in the NFL at what he does. There was every reason to believe that the Vikings were eventually going to fall apart against the Falcons.
O'Connell said that "My job in that moment is to eliminate the chaos." Mizutani said that was what the 38-year-old Head Coach did.
That's exactly what O'Connell did throughout the game while communicating with Dobbs via the headset in his helmet. The technology in place allowed O'Connell to talk to Dobbs between plays with the headset cutting out with 15 seconds left on the play clock. After giving as much instruction as he could, O'Connell watched the play unfold, then waited for the headset to go back online.
It was a balancing act for O'Connell not to inundate Dobbs with too much information.
Sometimes it meant walking Dobbs through certain play calls as he stood in the huddle with his teammates around him. Sometimes it meant alerting Dobbs as to what he might see from the defense once the ball was snapped. Sometimes it meant praising Dobbs for managing to make something out of nothing.
All the pieces mattered.
Those interactions ultimately defined the game for the Vikings. After getting the ball back with 2 minutes, 8 seconds left on the game clock, O'Connell was with Dobbs every step of the way as the final drive unfolded. It culminated with Dobbs making a perfect read on a touchdown pass to Powell that proved to be the difference.