The Vikings will give Jaren Hall the first chance to start at quarterback in place of Kirk Cousins on Sunday in Atlanta. Before the NFL's trade deadline on Tuesday, they gave themselves another veteran they could turn to later this season.

The team acquired Joshua Dobbs in a trade with the Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon, sending a sixth-round pick to Arizona for a conditional seventh-round pick and the quarterback who started the Cardinals' first eight games of the year. The deal was the first of two the Vikings made on deadline day; they also sent left guard Ezra Cleveland to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick that originally belonged to the Panthers.

Coach Kevin O'Connell said the Vikings plan to start Hall on Sunday against the Falcons and will prepare Dobbs "like he's only one step away." Beyond this week, the Vikings could go several different directions at quarterback.

Nick Mullens, who began the year as the Vikings' No. 2 quarterback ahead of Hall, could return as soon as next week from the low back injury that has him on injured reserve. O'Connell said Tuesday the Vikings "want to do right by Nick, as well, and make sure he's healthy and ready to go when he's able to start practicing again." If they determine Mullens needs more time and think they need an alternative to Hall, Dobbs could be their choice.

The Cardinals (1-7) benched the 28-year-old Dobbs in favor of rookie Clayton Tune after Sunday's game against the Ravens, making Dobbs expendable while Arizona prepares for Kyler Murray's return. Dobbs completed 62.8% of his passes for 1,569 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

"Josh gives us an experienced player who's started some games, not only this year but last year, and has played some good football against some of the best defenses in our league," O'Connell said. "He's found ways to move the ball. He brings a level of athleticism to go with great football intelligence. He's a smart player, and I have always loved what he's all about. He's played in a variety of offenses, and I know he's excited to get going here."

Cousins has not missed a game because of injury in his six years with the Vikings; his injury splintered the team's quarterback situation in a matter of days, sending the team's decisionmakers on an 11th-hour search before Tuesday's deadline.

The situation was further complicated by the Vikings' long-term uncertainty at the position and the fact they might need to draft their next starter in the spring.

Cousins will be 36 next August; the team had talked about a long-term deal with the quarterback last spring, but the two sides paused talks when they were unable to agree on a guarantee structure over the next several years. The Vikings instead added two void years to a deal that will still make Cousins a free agent in the spring.

They had considered moving up in the first round of the 2023 draft to take a quarterback and have already begun evaluating the players in what's expected to be a deep quarterback draft next spring. But the Vikings left the door open to reconnecting with Cousins for a new deal after the season. On Tuesday, O'Connell sounded open to that possibility.

Watch Kevin O'Connell's Tuesday news conference here:

"Like I've said many times, Kirk Cousins is going to be healthy again," O'Connell said. "I know he's going to be a free agent after this season, but Kirk knows how I feel about him, and that'll be something that will hopefully work itself out.

"You guys know how I feel about Kirk. Kirk knows how I feel about Kirk. I think he was playing as well as anybody in the National Football League."

Through eight games, Cousins led the league in completions (216), attempts (311) and touchdown passes (18) while ranking second in yards and third in passer rating. As durable as he'd been, questions about his Achilles could affect the offers he gets next spring. It could, in a roundabout way, make a reunion with the Vikings more plausible, if Cousins is willing to accept a deal with fewer guarantees and the Vikings are confident enough about his long-term health to bring him back.

At this point, though, there's little reason to think the Vikings won't be in the market for a QB in the first round of the 2024 draft. On Tuesday, that meant they were unlikely to spend high draft picks on an immediate solution unless they somehow could work a trade deadline deal for a player that could be both an immediate solution and a future starter.

"We wanted to make sure we gave ourselves the opportunity to really go a lot of directions with the position," O'Connell said. "But I think this immediate solution that we found provides us with a really quality player at a time where we were able to go out and get that player without potentially leaving the world of the future and the now — we were kind of able to accomplish the goal of both and help our football team."

Cousins, who's started more games than any other quarterback in Vikings history besides Fran Tarkenton and Tommy Kramer, brought a rare stretch of stability to the position for a franchise that had started eight different quarterbacks in the six seasons prior.

The Vikings lost him just as he appeared to be reaching a peak in the offense. On Tuesday, they pulled together a plan to move on without him at least for now.

"One of the things I'll really miss about Kirk is, … even going back to Washington, I always felt like by Saturday, if you just give him the time throughout the week to process it all, he was going to be absolutely locked in and know the plan," offensive coordinator Wes Phillips said. "You always felt good going into the game. The results were going to be the results, but you always knew Kirk was going to do his part and be ready. I just appreciate him a ton for the player he has been and for the man he is. But Jaren has a good role model to have watched. I know he'll follow his lead."

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