What If Jaren Hall Just Works for the Vikings?

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The Minnesota Vikings watched their season take a substantial turn on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. When Kirk Cousins went down with a torn Achilles, Jaren Hall finished the game. Now looking for answers at the quarterback position, Kevin O’Connell only has one immediate solution.

What If Jaren Hall Just Works for the Vikings?

There is no replacing Kirk Cousins. While he may not be at the level of Patrick Mahomes, there is no way to short-sell that the Vikings quarterback was playing at an MVP level this season. He was doing that without Justin Jefferson for the past few weeks, and he had helped Jordan Addison to blossom into another star. His leadership remains but now transitions to an off-the-field presence.

Hall Just Works
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Life after Cousins won’t be nearly as glamorous for the Vikings, and O’Connell will now be tasked with his toughest scenario as a head coach. Working to keep Minnesota competitive while dealing with uncertain performances at the game’s most important position will take a herculean effort.

Jaren Hall is the Vikings only true option to start against the Atlanta Falcons on the road this week. Nick Mullens remains on injured reserve, and while Sean Mannion can be elevated from the practice squad, doing so to insert him into the starting lineup would be nothing short of catastrophic. Mannion is the only player to start at quarterback aside from Cousins while the veteran has been in Minnesota, and the results have been nothing short of terrible. The acquisition of Joshua Dobbs is noteworthy, but he’s not going to have the needed time to acclimate on a short week.

What Hall brings to the table is largely uncertain. He was a fifth-round pick this past NFL draft, and despite showing strong numbers at BYU, his abilities were more rooted in development than immediate readiness. His arm is average, but he does have the ability to scramble and has shown a significant ability to complete passes. Accuracy and putting the ball into windows have been his greatest strength.

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Stepping in for Cousins, the playbook changes entirely with Hall under center. Rather than having substantial looks and schemes, O’Connell will need to simplify things for his rookie. With multiple possession-type pass-catchers at his disposal, Hall could find an opportunity to settle in completing lower-risk throws and allowing his teammates to do the work after the catch.

Beyond the passing game, O’Connell will have this week to figure out the problems in the backfield. Allowing Hall to have a semblance of success likely relies upon the running game providing virtually anything. That’s not a high bar to clear, but one that Minnesota has largely underperformed on throughout the season. Alexander Mattison has flopped, and Cam Akers hasn’t been given the reigns. Finding a way to run the ball against the Falcons should open up additional opportunities for Hall, and that would go a long way toward him settling in.

Ultimately, this may be the first and only chance for Hall to prove himself. Minnesota has already brought in Dobbs, and he started all of the Arizona Cardinals games this season. Should Hall show well, there is no reason for him not to continue leading the group on a weekly basis.

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Amid a competitive rebuild, figuring out what is next at the quarterback position would always be part of the Vikings process this offseason. Maybe that would’ve been re-upping with Cousins, and it still could be, but drafting another arm was also on the table. If Hall can get a leg up on the competition and show Minnesota his capabilities, some clarity could be brought to the role as well.

It remains a long shot that a fifth-round pick from BYU will immediately step in and be the guy. From a good fortune standpoint, though, nothing could be better for the Vikings, and Hall would love to have that be part of his fairytale. He already has former NFL quarterback RGIII singing his praises.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.