MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joshua Dobbs kept Minnesota’s injury-thinned offense on track in his first start, throwing for a career-high 268 yards and totaling two touchdowns to help the Vikings build a 24-point halftime lead and hold on to beat the New Orleans Saints 27-19 on Sunday for their fifth straight victory.
T.J. Hockenson outgained the Saints by himself in the first half with 10 catches for 128 yards and a score for the Vikings (6-4), who stalled out after the hot start and turned to Mekhi Blackmon and Byron Murphy for fourth-quarter interceptions of downfield heaves by Jameis Winston that ended consecutive Saints possessions. Winston’s throw into a crowd in the end zone on the final play was knocked down by the Vikings.
After Derek Carr was forced out in the third quarter with a concussion and a shoulder injury, Winston entered with a 27-3 deficit and delivered touchdown passes to Chris Olave and A.T. Perry on highlight-reel, high-degree-of-difficulty catches in the end zone over Murphy. Alvin Kamara contributed the vital 2-point conversion runs, and the Saints (5-5) were poised to pull off a remarkable comeback.
Ty Chandler, who had his first career touchdown run in the first quarter for the Vikings, had a third-and-1 scamper for a 29-yard score called back for a questioned holding call on right tackle Brian O’Neill midway through the fourth quarter.
After Dobbs was pressed into action in Atlanta last week, with the adrenaline of the comeback victory worn off, the Vikings faced a significant challenge against a dangerous Saints secondary that entered the game leading the NFL in interceptions and passes defensed.
Superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) was held out for the fifth straight game, and starting wide receiver K.J. Osborn (concussion) didn’t play. Hockenson played through a painful rib injury that was aggravated multiple times. Then starting running back Alexander Mattison (concussion) was forced out of the game.
Dobbs was only here, after all, because of the season-ending torn Achilles tendon for Kirk Cousins. He relieved Jaren Hall (concussion) at quarterback last week in leading the Vikings to victory over the Falcons.
DOBBS DOES IT AGAIN
Dobbs rushed eight times for 44 yards. He has three straight games with at least one passing and one rushing touchdown, including his last game with Arizona. The only players with longer streaks since the 1970 merger: Justin Fields (five, 2022), Kyler Murray (five, 2020) and Michael Vick (four, 2010).
TOUGH WEEKEND FOR THOMAS
Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, who was arrested Friday on simple battery and criminal mischief charges following an alleged confrontation with a construction worker near his home, had one catch for 9 yards before leaving in the first quarter with a knee injury.
Saints: CB Marshon Lattimore (ankle) was taken off on a cart in the fourth quarter.
Vikings: LB Jordan Hicks (shin) aggravated an injury in the third quarter that forced him out in the first quarter and didn’t return. … CB Akayleb Evans (calf) was hurt in the third quarter. … DL Dean Lowry (groin) was sidelined for the second straight game.
Saints: Bye week, then at Atlanta on Nov. 26.
Vikings: At Denver next Sunday night.