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Dobbs hopes Vikings run leads to opportunities in free agency

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was grateful and reflective while cleaning out his Vikings locker on Monday at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. He gave Vikings fans lasting memories in a thrilling Nov. 5 victory over the Falcons just five days after being traded to Minnesota from Arizona.

Even though Dobbs' run lasted just five games, ending in an ineffective Dec. 10 start in Las Vegas, those memories are just as lasting for the 28-year-old journeyman and aeronautical engineer dubbed the "Passtronaut." Dobbs is one of 20 unrestricted free agents on the Vikings roster whose contracts expire in March.

"The amount of support I got here from teammates, coaches, personnel, front office, fans," Dobbs said Monday. "Watching everyone in the Denver game dressed up in astronaut costumes was unbelievable. So, yeah, you know, whatever the future holds. I've really enjoyed my time here and playing for the Vikings, and I'll be excited to see what opportunities come from this."

Dobbs said he expects "there will be a lot of opportunities" around the NFL after his first extended run as a starting quarterback. Dobbs played in 13 games (12 starts) for the Cardinals and Vikings after practicing for the Browns in training camp. He threw for 2,464 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for 421 yards and six touchdowns, including three rushing scores for the Vikings.

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Dobbs threw for a season-high 268 yards in his first Vikings start in the Nov. 12 win over the Saints. But his passing production declined with each of his four starts in Minnesota. There was a learning curve with picking up what Dobbs called a "high-level offense" on the fly in the middle of the season.

Dobbs, who has played on seven NFL teams in seven seasons, said he's looking forward to a full offseason with the same playbook.

"Understand those building blocks and go out and play football," Dobbs said. "That eases your mind so much at quarterback. From the other end of the spectrum, where you show up on Tuesday and you have to master the offense quickly and go out and play and still win football games. So, that feat definitely is something I don't take for granted. But rather have it the first way, right? That's something I look for as I'm looking at the opportunities for next year. What gives me the most consistent chance to play consistent football?"

Dobbs was asked how he's kept a positive outlook through his winding path.

"It's very easy just because what I do on the field doesn't define the person that I am," Dobbs said. "As has been well documented, I have a lot of interests off the field."

"It was definitely a mentally taxing season, a little bit of a roller coaster," he added, "but I have a lot of confidence in myself."