Entering Monday night's home game against the Chicago Bears to conclude Week 12, the Minnesota Vikings sat sixth in the NFC standings, had a very realistic shot of winning the North Division and were -220 at DraftKings to make the playoffs for a second straight season. However, QB Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings offense were putrid in a 12-10 loss and are now down to -120 for the postseason – and Dobbs might no longer be the starter under center when Minnesota comes out of its Week 13 bye.
Even though the Vikings still have two games to play against division-leading Detroit, the NFC North was likely won by the Lions on Monday as they now lead the Vikings by three games in the loss column and are up to -900 favorites with Minnesota at +750. Entering Monday, those numbers were -600 and +475, respectively. The SportsLine Projection Model now has the Vikings, who are now seventh in the NFC at 6-6, with an over/under season win total of 8.3 with a 9.3% shot at the division (+975) and 49.4% chance to make the playoffs (+102).
Minnesota's schedule isn't too tough the rest of the way. It visits Las Vegas in Week 14, is at Cincinnati in Week 15 (both teams are without their starting quarterbacks), hosts Detroit in Week 16, hosts Green Bay in Week 17, and visits Detroit to close the season.
If the Vikings don't get better in one-score games, it won't matter. They were an NFL-record 11-0 in them last regular season but are now 5-6 in such games this year, with the six losses tied for the most in the league in one-score games. Chicago became the first team this season to win without scoring a touchdown; those teams had been 0-28. It was the Bears' first win without a TD since 1993.
Dobbs entered Monday as a +400 third favorite to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He's on his third team already this season and was dreadful, throwing for just 185 yards with four picks, a career high both in the NFL and in college. He was the first Vikings player with at least four picks in a game since Matt Cassell in 2014. Dobbs is now +2500 to win Comeback Player of Year. Buffalo defensive back Damar Hamlin is the -175 favorite and has been favored all season.
After Monday's game, Minnesota coach Kevin O'Connell didn't rule out a QB change for Week 14 – which is also when superstar receiver Justin Jefferson should be ready to return from injury.
"We're gonna take a look," O'Connell told reporters when asked if he'd consider making a change under center. "(We'll) really evaluate the inventory of plays now we have of Josh. We got healthy, we have Jaren (Hall) back available to us, and then Nick Mullens is available as well. … Look, I (commend) what Josh Dobbs has really done, coming in here on short notice and going 2-2 on a stretch where a lot of people might've thought ... the deck's stacked against us. (But) we're gonna evaluate what we've been able to do. ... We'll take a look at everything. We've got a lot of work to do during the bye."
Hal, a fifth-round rookie out of BYU, started Nov. 5 in Atlanta and looked pretty solid in completing five of his six passes for 78 yards before leaving with a concussion in the first quarter. Dobbs took over and has had the ball since. The journeyman Mullens is 5-12 in his NFL career. He saw action in four games last year with the Vikings but hasn't started since a loss in 2021 with Cleveland.
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