Kevin O’Connell Hints that Jaren Hall Wasn’t a Contender to Start in Week 14

Inflicted the Most
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At times, what isn’t said is as important was what is said.

During his Wednesday press conference, Kevin O’Connell was prompted to reflect on the process he adopted to discern who should start at quarterback in Week 14. The answer contained plenty of focus on Josh Dobbs and then some words about Nick Mullens. Jaren Hall, in contrast, was nowhere to be found.

Kevin O’Connell Suggests that the QB1 Job Came Down to Two Players

Fans had their preference.

Or, at least, the ones who responded to the poll from Vikings Territory‘s Dustin Baker had a preference. Plenty within Vikings fandom wanted to see what the rookie can do.

Feel for Jaren
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Dustin describes the results: “We polled Vikings loyalists on the X app, and the pick was rather definitive: Hall in a landslide. Approximately 69% of the fanbase wants Hall in the saddle at Sin City. The poll was unscientific, and 2,633 people responded.”

He goes on: “Whether Hall is the starter is a different story. As the week has progressed, some Vikings fans and NFL experts have begun to believe Mullens, the QB2 from 2022 and earlier this season, will be tabbed for duty. The job was Mullens’ not that long ago, and he has every reason under the sun to reclaim the job.”

Line QB for 2023
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The speculation about a Mullens promotion certainly had merit. After all. O’Connell considered putting him into the game against Chicago. During the bye, O’Connell again considered handing the QB1 position over to Mullens.

That decision, though, doesn’t seem to have been muddied by the potential present within Jaren Hall.

O’Connell’s process involved looking at all of Josh Dobbs’ snaps during his time in Minnesota and then previously in Arizona. The coach also took time to evaluate what Mullens did during the preseason and in his work last season. Nowhere in that answer did O’Connell mention looking over the tape for Hall.

Does Who Plays
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Even still, the coach had good things to say about all of his QBs. “I feel like we’ve got three quarterbacks we can win football games with,” O’Connell says in the press conference, “and what that looks like moving forward, the starting point is always the confidence in the room, in the players. And we have that.”

Within that trio, though, there’s a clear top two: Dobbs and Mullens.

Hall, let’s not forget, is a 5th-round rookie who was supposed to be the QB3 behind a starter who never gets hurt (Kirk Cousins) and a backup who could be ready at a moment’s notice (Nick Mullens). A lot has happened since those initial plans were implemented, but that was the original design.

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Fans can now proceed through the remainder of their week participating in The Great Passtronaut Debate of 2023. No doubt, Dobbs has some supporters in Minnesota, but plenty are wondering if a different option at QB would have made more sense.

The Raiders game isn’t technically a must-win but it’s nevertheless of supreme importance. At 6-6, the Vikings no longer have a ton a breathing room in the playoff race. Getting some strong play at quarterback will obviously be among the deciding factors in whether the Vikings depart Week 14 as a 7-6 or a 6-7 team.

Kickoff takes place at 3:05 p.m. CST.

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K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.