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USA Today Sports Media Group
Judd Zulgad

Zulgad: Joshua Dobbs joins list of other Vikings who made memorable impressions

Joshua Dobbs’ performance in the Minnesota Vikings’ victory Sunday in Atlanta long will be remembered by fans because of its improbability.

Acquired only five days earlier from the Arizona Cardinals, and with no practice reps, the veteran quarterback came on in relief of rookie Jaren Hall in the first quarter and ended up leading a late-game drive that gave Minnesota its fourth consecutive win.

But Dobbs isn’t the first player to seemingly come out of nowhere and leave an impression (some favorable, some not) on Vikings fans.

Here are four others.

Scottie Graham leaves pharmacy to help rush Vikings into the playoffs


Scottie Graham had been cut by the New York Jets and was working at a pharmacy when the Vikings signed him to their practice squad in 1993.

Graham was in the right place at the right time late in the season when rookie running back Robert Smith was placed on injured reserve. Graham rushed for a combined 145 yards on 35 carries and a touchdown in back-to-back games against Detroit in Dallas in December, but it was in the next two games in which he made his mark.

Graham ran for 139 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown in a December 19 win at Green Bay, and then went for 166 yards on 33 carries with a touchdown the following week in a victory over Kansas City.

That broke a Vikings record for rushing yards in consecutive games, and helped Minnesota (9-7) make the playoffs, where it lost to the New York Giants in the wild card round.

Graham played in 43 games over the next three seasons with the Vikings, but had only one more game in which he rushed for 100 yards.

Graham, who is now 54, finished his career with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1997 and is in his third season as the running backs coach for the Arizona Wildcats.

Greg Lewis' one touchdown catch with Vikings remains a memorable moment

Genevieve Ross/Getty Images

Greg Lewis had been released by the New England Patriots in the final training camp cuts in 2009 but quickly joined the Vikings. Lewis was familiar with Vikings coach Brad Childress from their time together in Philadelphia, where Childress had been the offensive coordinator.

This was strictly a depth move for a team that already had Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice and rookie Percy Harvin at wide receiver. Lewis would spend two seasons with the Vikings, and finished with only eight catches for 96 yards and one touchdown in 13 games.

It was that touchdown, however, that makes him a household name to many Vikings fans to this day.

The Vikings had started the season 2-0 after signing Brett Favre but were trailing the San Francisco 49ers by four points late in the fourth quarter of their home opener. Lewis, who had arrived only three weeks earlier and had not played a snap in the game, came on the field as a replacement for a tired Harvin.

The clock was ticking down as Favre let go with a rocket of a pass that Lewis somehow caught in the back of the end zone while getting his feet inbounds. The 32-yard score came with two seconds left on the clock and gave the Vikings a 27-24 victory in a season that wouldn’t end until the NFC title game in New Orleans.

It remains one of the more memorable plays in Vikings’ history and that’s saying something. Lewis would stick with the Vikings through a miserable 2010 season but would never catch another touchdown pass.

Lewis, now 43, has been an NFL assistant coach since 2015 and is in his first season as wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens.

Eric Guliford's one and only, yet very memorable, catch as a Viking


The Vikings had signed wide receiver Eric Guliford as a rookie free agent out of Arizona State in 1993 to serve as a return man.

Guliford, who was listed at only 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, returned 29 punts and five kickoffs in 10 games as a rookie, but it was the only catch he would make in his two seasons with the Vikings that was remembered.

It came on Sept. 26, 1993 at the Metrodome.

The Vikings trailed the Packers by one point and were facing a third-and-10 from the 50-yard line with only 14 seconds left. Guliford managed to get himself wide open down the right sideline and quarterback Jim McMahon found him on a 45-yard pass at the Packers 5. Guliford went out of bounds and kicker Fuad Reveiz made a 22-yard field goal to lift the Vikings.

Guliford, who is now 54, was taken by the Carolina Panthers in 1995 in the NFL expansion draft. He also had a stop with the New Orleans Saints (1997-98) and finished his career with 67 catches for 975 yards and two touchdowns.

The quarterback experiment that turned into a one-and-done

Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Mention the name Josh Freeman to a Vikings fans and you inevitably will hear a painful groan. Yes, Freeman only played in one game for the franchise but that performance left an impression that still lingers.

Freeman had been a first-round pick of Tampa Bay in 2009 and spent four-plus seasons with the Buccaneers before being released in October 2013. The Vikings already had quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel on their roster, but decided to sign Freeman only a few days after he had been jettisoned.

Despite Freeman’s lack of experience in the Vikings’ system, he was only inactive for one game before coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman decided to give Freeman the start in a Monday night game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

It was a disaster.

Freeman completed only 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards with an interception and had a passer rating of 40.6. The Vikings’ only score in a 23-7 loss came on a Marcus Sherels’ 86-yard punt return. The memory of Freeman’s passes flying high and wide of his intended targets lives on to this day.

The Vikings plan to make Freeman the starter for the rest of 2013 came to an end when they announced he was dealing with concussion-like symptoms. Freeman remained with the team but would never start again. He would play in one more game with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015 and officially retired from professional football in 2018.

The Real Forno Show

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