Vikings Have One Chance to Be Bold with QB Decision

Vikings May Have First
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“I think the quarterback position needs to be evaluated to see what gives us the best chance to win. I don’t think there’s any particular timeline,” Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters on Tuesday.

What does this mean? Well, Minnesota has an in-season quarterback controversy, or at the very least, a debate.

Vikings Have One Chance to Be Bold with QB Decision

Recent starter Joshua Dobbs caused four turnovers on Monday Night Football during a loss to the Chicago Bears. Accordingly, O’Connell would not name Dobbs the QB1 henceforth, and suddenly, Vikings fans are pondering life with Dobbs, rookie Jaren Hall, and veteran Nick Mullens. The Week 14 starter at Las Vegas will be one of those three men.

And if Minnesota wants to be bold, it has one opportunity while holding a 6-6 record and basically controlling its playoff fate — and that is starting Jaren Hall, the rookie.

Hall was tabbed as the starter one month ago in a Week 9 showdown at the Atlanta Falcons. But after two drives, one quite impressive, he fell victim to a concussion and hasn’t played since. Dobbs took over and has provided a rocketship ride.

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But if Minnesota trusted Hall, if only out of attrition, for a regular season game at the Falcons, the purple team can once again hand him the baton. Otherwise, starting Sean Mannion at Atlanta was an option, and O’Connell evidently wasn’t interested in that avenue.

Hall led the Vikings downfield on a scoring drive against the Falcons and looked poised along the way. He should actually be sideways irked that Dobbs arrived and played like an astronaut for two weeks. The rookie had a golden opportunity to prove he was the proper man to keep the season afloat, but a concussion derailed the plan.

Chance to Be Bold
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Now, Dobbs has returned to this atmosphere, so why not go back to the Week 9 backup plan, which allowed the young quarterback to cook?

Per Hall’s scouting report, preseason production, and teensy sample at the Falcons, Hall blends both Dobbs’ mobility and Nick Mullens’ accuracy. He’s not as fast as Dobbs, but he is more accurate. He’s not as accurate as Mullens — that’s what the scouting report as a rookie suggests, anyway — but he’s significantly more mobile.

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Hall is the happy-medium choice at quarterback if O’Connell is unenthused by Dobbs’ turnover problem and passing accuracy — or if even doesn’t enjoy Mullens’ lack of mobility. Mullens joined the NFL in 2018 and has totaled -3 rushing yards. Yikes.

Moreover, there’s a cynical thought at play, as well. Without Kirk Cousins, the Vikings probably won’t win the Super Bowl and may not have won the damn thing with Cousins. If the coaching staff and front office believe the team’s ceiling is a wildcard berth or loss, letting the rookie show his meddle along the way best serves the long-term plan at quarterback.

Before too long, during life after Cousins, the Vikings must determine the best QB1 option going forward. Playing Hall — not Dobbs or Mullens — would either play himself into the future QB1 mix or rule himself out.

Minnesota Vikings QB Jaren Hall addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday. Hall makes his first career start on Sunday, November 5th, at the Atlanta Falcons and is the first Vikings to make a first-ever start at quarterbacks since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.

Indeed, Hall is a great unknown in terms of regular season and playoff ceiling, but circumstances have aligned to give the youngster a platform. On a golden platter, in fact.

He can lead the club to the postseason or look utterly ineffective and nominate himself as a career-long backup. Regarding the impending life-after-Cousins saga, this script is tailor-made for Hall if the Vikings are bold enough.

For context, the Cleveland Browns are already trying this approach with Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and that’s the team the Vikings plucked their general manager from 22 months ago.

Another opportunity like this for Hall specifically may not arise again.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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