It’s Jaren Hall, Now What?
The Minnesota Vikings made the move to Jaren Hall as their starting quarterback on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. It turns out his only opportunity this year won’t be the abbreviated start against the Atlanta Falcons. Now, what should the expectations be?
It’s Jaren Hall, Now What?
When the Vikings first put Jaren Hall under center, it was in response to them having no other options at quarterback. Kirk Cousins had just suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, and Nick Mullens was on injured reserve with a back issue. The plan was never for a fifth-round quarterback to get into action during his first year in the league, but the band-aid was being ripped off.
Maybe that game provided some foreshadowing as three different players took a snap under center against the Falcons. After Hall left with a concussion, Josh Dobbs came in as a newly acquired talent and led the Vikings to victory. Running back Cam Akers also got a play behind the line as a passer but ultimately took a sack. Fast forward to where we are now, and Hall is starting again as the fourth quarterback Minnesota has used this season.
Hall orchestrated a strong second drive of the game during his lone start. After an initial three-and-out, Hall led Minnesota on nine plays for 74 yards down the field. The scamper that got him concussed stalled the drive out on the one-yard line. His final stat line read 5-of-6 passing for 78 yards and a pair of rushes for 11 yards.
With a pair of games left against divisional opponents, Hall gets an opportunity to show what he can do. The Packers are hardly a juggernaut, and while there is extra motivation in rivalry games, the defense has left plenty to be desired for Green Bay all year. Despite strides made by Jordan Love as the season has gone on, it remains clear that Matt LaFleur’s defense is plenty beatable.
Hall may be without rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison after he was injured against the Detroit Lions, but Justin Jefferson is locked and loaded. T.J. Hockenson is done for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL, and his loss as a safety blanket for the quarterback is substantial. Additional run will be given to Josh Oliver and Johnny Mundt, each needing to make themselves available for Hall.
It’s unlikely the Lions game will present an opportunity for the Vikings to get back into the playoffs, but they probably aren’t going to roll over regardless. The Lions’ strength is the offensive enhancements they have made this season, and while they are stout against the run, we saw Minnesota have success against them through the air.
What Hall can accomplish under center in the final two games should be more impactful personally than whatever the end result is for the team. Minnesota could lose both games, but this is an immediate opportunity for the young starter to show that he’s at least a worthy backup in this league. Uncertainty remains at the quarterback position for 2024 and will, regardless of how he performs. He can at least insert himself into the discussion with a strong step forward, and not immediately being overtaken by an incoming rookie is something he is certainly playing for.
The best-case scenario is that Hall’s play proves he should’ve been starting weeks ago and that Minnesota could have hung onto the playoff chances with him under center. That would be unfortunate to see play out from an optics perspective, but he controls that revelation now.
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.