Kevin O’Connell Clears up QB2 Mystery

can grab momentum
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Current Minnesota Vikings QB3 Jaren Hall, a rookie, might have an illustrious career down the road, but it likely won’t start as the team’s primary QB2 in 2023.

QB2 Nick Mullens started the Vikings first preseason game and performed quite well, enough for head coach Kevin O’Connell to sing his praises.

Kevin O’Connell Clears up QB2 Mystery

And some fringe theories throughout the offseason suggested Hall could unseat Mullens as QB2, a prediction that feels like a mighty longshot after one preseason game.

Clears up QB2
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

In a nutshell, Mullens looked like an adept QB2 at Seattle — 14 for 20, 139 passing yards, a passing touchdown — and Hall played like, well, a 5th-Round rookie. The Vikings jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Seahawks, began resting some second-teamers, and Minnesota’s lead gradually slipped away — to the tune of a 24-13 loss.

O’Connell said about Mullens’ performance, “I thought Nick played well. Really managed it well. And what the challenge is for him — and really a lot of quarterbacks when they get their opportunities — is not trying to do too much. I thought he just continued to execute play after play. And really made some things right for us.”

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings listed Mullens as the QB2 on the first depth chart Monday, and the 28-year-old proved Thursday night he belongs precisely in that spot.

“He had his plate full tonight and handled it really well, which is what I expected. Nick’s had a great camp and continues to grow every single day and really gaining the confidence of our team. If something were to happen to Kirk, you know, the guys have a lot of confidence in Nick,” O’Connell added.

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Tuesday., July 25th, 2023. The Vikings won the NFC North in Kevin O’Connell’s first year, thanks to a 13-4 record. O’Connell is the league’s second-youngest coach as of 2023.

Minnesota’s general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah found Mullens via trade one year ago with the Las Vegas Raiders after Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond failed to inspire confidence in 2022’s preseason games. Mullens quickly won the QB2 job and even experienced regular season action against the Chicago Bears in Week 18 to wrap up 2022.

Then, the Vikings re-signed Mullens this offseason for two extra years, a noteworthy transaction as Adofo-Mensah appeared to fancy one-year deals for many free agents.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell also commented on Hall, who underwent a rough outing, probably because of a porous offensive line: “What did flash to me was his athleticism. Conflict resolution. There was plenty of it, and he was able to kind of – at least, sometimes not extend plays for big gains but sack-saving plays. Getting out, spinning out when we missed a couple protection assignments. The big key there is, when you’re in those situations, can you find a way to not make a bad play worse? I speak from direct experience on that.”

While the preseason has two games remaining and ‘anything can happen’ on the way to a 53-man roster, Mullens is firmly in the driver’s seat to claim the Vikings QB2 gig in back-to-back seasons. Any Hall smoke regarding QB2 was likely premature.

The Vikings rested almost all ‘established starters’ at Seattle and are expected to do so again against the Tennessee Titans in Preseason Game No. 2 on August 19th.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by