Jaren Hall Nails His Game Evaluation

The Big Stuff
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The Minnesota Vikings lost their second preseason game, falling to a 0-2 record in the meaningless preseason standings. Much more important are the player evaluations and the fact that the young players get some much-needed experience by playing actual football. That is especially true for a rookie quarterback, and the Vikings employ one of those.

Jaren Hall Nails His Game Evaluation

Hall was criticized for his first game experience because he didn’t play well at all. He looked more panicky than comfortable in the pocket and scrambled excessively without facing pressure at times. Although one aspect that made him feel uncomfortable was obviously the struggling offensive line.

hall nails his
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BYU possesses a decent offensive line in comparison to the defenses of their competition, and Hall wasn’t used to facing pressure all the time. That is exactly why game reps are important: preparing for the worst-case scenario. There is a reason why coaches like veterans. They have seen everything that can possibly happen in a game and can adjust to it, while rookies and inexperienced players freak out over those obstacles.

Hall played way better facing the Tennessee Titans, and he analyzed his performance perfectly:

There is always room for improvement. It was better than the week before. That was the focus for the week of practice leading up to that game, just getting better. Obviously, still things to clean up on third downs, completing a few crucial throws early on in those series, so always things to improve.

Jaren Hall

One of Hall’s biggest strengths is his maturity. He was entering the draft at 25 years of age, so that plays a factor, but he is a smart player no matter his rookie status, and the evaluation was perfect.

Hall improved within one week. Playing at an NFL level for the first time can be overwhelming, especially for QBs, because they have so many things to control, from calling plays in the huddle to calling audibles based on pre-snap reads and then making the right decisions. The plays are also much more complicated than in the college ranks, with much more variables, options, and reads.

Kevin O’Connell was pleased with his first-year signal-caller: “It was good to see him engineer that touchdown drive, use his legs to steal a third-down conversion, and we were able to punch it in.”

Hall’s stat line was once again just underwhelming, showing four completed passes on seven attempts for 49 yards. He added two carries for 14 yards, with one going for ten yards, a sweet run not just for Vikings standards with pretty much exclusively unathletic pocket passers in recent years.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) tosses the ball to running back DeWayne McBride (37) as they face the Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

His receivers also dropped some passes, including his best play. Hall made an unreal throw to his left that Blake Proehl dropped.

The few steps to his left right before the pass to get away from the pressure while keeping a stable basis to pull off a mechanically perfect throw was nice to see. The pass was accurate into double coverage but not reckless. An all-around great play from the rookie.

Hall also had one highlight throw last week to N’Keal Harry.

The passer showed beautiful touch on his throws on his college tape, and he continues to do that in the pros. But there is still a lot to learn. At this point, he is not reliable enough to be considered the primary backup for Kirk Cousins, and Nick Mullens is simply the better quarterback.

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The good news is that Hall isn’t here to learn everything about playing QB in August of his rookie season. He has much more time. That is part of why Kevin O’Connell — a former NFL QB — is in the building, to help develop a young passer.

There is a learning curve in the NFL, and if he can continue his trend of getting better, he should be even more comfortable in the third preseason game in which he should get plenty of run. The Vikings signed XFL star QB Jordan Ta’amu who could get some reps, while backup Mullens might not need his reps as a veteran. That split of playing time in the QB room will be a fascinating topic in the third and final preseason contest.

One advantage of giving Hall some time with the second-team offense is that he can throw to more quality receivers, increasing the likelihood of converting some nice plays. Rookies aren’t supposed to be fully developed players — particularly late-round QBs — so seeing Hall overcoming his struggles and slowly improving is an encouraging sign.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt