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5 things that stood out in the Vikings' win over New Orleans

Josh Dobbs in the first half compared to Josh Dobbs in the second half is something else...
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Minnesota's 27-19 win over the Saints on Sunday could be described as both beautiful and ugly because it was a tale of two polar opposite halves. The defense came away with two key interceptions in the fourth quarter to prevent blowing a 27-3 second half lead, which can fairly be blamed on the Vikings' offense pulling a disappearing act in the second half. Anyway, here are five things that stood out. 

1. Josh Dobbs can do it all

Dobbs was 18-of-22 for 220 yards and one touchdown pass and had 40 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first half. He finished the game with just 268 passing yards and 44 rushing yards after Minnesota's offense went silent in the second half. But he was so good in the first half that Bill Simmons was comparing him to a combination of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. 

It can't be said enough: Dobbs has never had a supporting cast as talented as the guys he's now playing with in Minnesota. In Arizona, he had a below average offensive line in front of him and average receivers. In two starts with the Titans last season he was scrambling for his life behind an O-line that Pro Football Focus ranked dead last in pass blocking. 

Two weeks ago, nobody knew what Dobbs would be capable of with a good offensive line and big-time weapons around him. Now everyone knows. 

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2. Vikings running back situation

Last week's season-ending Achilles injury suffered by Cam Akers opened the door for Chandler and after an injury to Alexander Mattison he might be the No. 1 running back next week in Denver. 

Mattison left the game after taking a big hit by Saints linebacker Pete Werner in the third quarter and he was ruled out with a concussion. If he has to miss next week's game and more, the Vikings will have to rely on Chandler and Kene Nwangwu, who got his first offensive touches of the season after Mattison went down.  

  • Chandler: 15 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD
  • Mattison: 8 carries, 27 yards
  • Nwangwu: 2 carries, 9 yards

Chandler had a 29-yard touchdown run called back due to a very questionable holding call on right tackle Brian O'Neill, so his numbers could've been better than the final box score shows. 

3. T.J. Hockenson's toughness


Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Hockenson played at less than 100% health due to an injury to his ribs and oblique but he battled through big hits in a real life Viking-like effort in which he gobbled up pain and passes and finished with 10 receptions for 128 yards a touchdown. He added just one catch for six yards in the second half, but the toughness he showed in the first half set the tone. 

4. Second half issues on offense

After kicking a field go to go up 27-3 early in the third quarter, Minnesota's offense came to an abrupt halt. 

  • 3 plays, 9 yards -- punt
  • 7 plays, 17 yards -- missed field goal
  • 7 plays, 31 yards -- punt
  • 3 plays, -2 yards -- punt
  • 3 plays, 9 yards, -- punt

Minnesota had 297 yards in the first half and only 91 yards in the second half. It very evident in Dobbs' first and second half splits. 

  • Dobbs first half: 18-of-22, 220 yards, 1 TD; 40 rush yards, 1 TD
  • Dobbs second half: 5-of-12, 48 yards, 0 TD, 4 rush yards, 0 TD

5. They called illegal hands to the face on who?

One of the oddest calls of the game was an illegal hands to the face penalty called on Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter in the second half on a play where Hunter's helmet got ripped off his head. 

Hunter made up for the penalty by sacking Jameis Winston on the next play. That was good for his 11th sack of the season.