ESPN Pundit Disregards Jaren Hall on Vikings Roster

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ESPN’s Dan Graziano either doesn’t know about the Minnesota Vikings draft selection of QB Jaren Hall or is unimpressed by Hall’s 5th-Round draft stock.

That’s the only logical explanation, as the ESPN pundit detailed the Vikings life-after-Kirk-Cousins situation this week with Hall’s name nowhere to be found.

ESPN Pundit Disregards Jaren Hall on Vikings Roster

Cousins is under contract with the Vikings through the end of 2023 — and then that’s it. Usually heading into a season, Cousins is on the books for at least two more seasons, but no cigar as of May 17th, 2023. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, in theory, could extend Cousins by a year or two at any minute, but he likely would’ve done so by now.

Therefore, when the 2023 NFL Draft rolled around last month, many Vikings fans expected the club to draft a quarterback, perhaps in Rounds 1 or 2. They did not, instead opting for 5th-Rounder, Jaren Hall from BYU.

ESPN Pundit Disregards
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But he must not be a viable QB option for, well, anything, according to Graziano. The ESPN author foremost posed this question to himselfHow much longer for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota? And what’s next for the Vikings? — and then answered it.

“For the first time since he got to Minnesota, the Vikings don’t have any contractual mechanism that binds them to Cousins beyond the current season. His contract voids after this season, and they’ll carry a $28.5 million dead-money cap hit for him in 2024 no matter what. So, depending on what happens this year, the Vikings could re-sign Cousins, or they could move on from him. Their options are open,” Graziano wrote.

Aspect of Kirk Cousins'
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He continued, “Cousins will be 35 when the season starts, so there’s no reason to think this will be his final year playing football. The Vikings don’t have a young guy on the roster screaming for a chance, the way the Packers did. Minnesota’s current GM and coaching staff inherited Cousins from their predecessors, so questions about whether he’s really ‘their guy’ are understandable.”

Since joining the Vikings in 2018, Cousins ranks fourth leaguewide in touchdown passes and fifth in passing yards.

“Just don’t assume this is his final year in Minnesota. There is no post-Cousins plan in place for the Vikings, and depending on the way this season goes, he could (emphasis on could) end up being their best option for 2024 and beyond,” Graziano concluded.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s more than fair to question the Vikings plan after Cousins — the topic is popular — but failing even to whisper Hall is a bit strange. After rookie minicamp last week, head coach Kevin O’Connell said about Hall, “I spent a lot of time with Jaren, and I’m a big fan of his — love the way he came out and commanded a group of guys that are learning a bunch of information for the first time. There were some ups, there were some downs, and that’s what we expect and ultimately just trying to give him tangible real things.”

Hall may not morph into QB1 once Cousins departs — that could be as soon as next March in free agency — but don’t be utterly shocked if Hall gets a look for the assignment.

Because why would the franchise draft Hall otherwise? The front office doesn’t appear to be a group that just goes through the motions as a charade.

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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