The Alluring Factor of Jaren Hall
The Minnesota Vikings did not select quarterback Jaren Hall from Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft because he was young, from a Power 5 school, or possessed big-name recognition.
In fact, the Vikings brass effectuated one of their mantras about quarterback scouting made public since Kevin O’Connell arrived in the Twin Cities 15 months ago. His foremost criterion for a QB1 is accuracy.
And Hall has that.
The Alluring Factor of Jaren Hall
Minnesota could’ve stayed pat at pick No. 23 about two weeks ago and drafted Kentucky’s Will Levis or Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker. But they did not, opting for WR abundance with USC’s Jordan Addison. Then, two days later, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took a flyer on Hall in a draft spot notorious as a quarterback graveyard — the 5th Round (and later).
Media members have asked O’Connell a few times what he looks for in a quarterback — mainly because they want hints about life after Kirk Cousins — and the young head coach remains consistent. He fancies a quarterback with natural accuracy. It’s a good starting point, according to him.
That’s where Hall’s profile shines. In 29 games at BYU, he completed 65.2% of passes for 52 passing touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. Anthony Richardson, a draft darling who landed with the Indianapolis Colts, fired up a 54.7% completion rate in college. The Colts will have to hope Richardson improves his accuracy — he probably will — while the Vikings already know that’s Hall’s claim to fame.
A couple of Vikings fans emailed the team this week for its weekly mailbag, wondering about the long-term plan for the 25-year-old. Vikings.com’s Craig Peters uplifted Hall’s accuracy, “I know that O’Connell places significant weight on accuracy when assessing quarterbacks, and Hall passed that test. Arm strength can be helpful, particularly if a team plays home games in the elements, but it might be over-rated. It also can undermine some play designs if a quarterback struggles to put touch on the football. Having seen Murray play, I think he has an electric arm to zing some line drives, so I’m not sure that’s the best comp.”
“We look forward to Hall and his classmates taking the field for the first time as Vikings this weekend and will provide coverage from the session. I don’t know what the future holds for him, but all I’m saying is let him start in neutral with folks’ opinions and see where he goes during the preseason,” Peters added.
Hall won’t experience regular season action in 2023 — it’ll be weird if he does — as Cousins is the QB1 for at least one more year. If Cousins gets hurt, Nick Mullens would be the next man up. But Hall can use the preseason to prove his mettle, and if the Vikings don’t extend Cousins beyond 2023, the sky is the limit for Hall.
In addition to his mature aura and ability to lead, Hall’s accuracy was “the thing” that drew O’Connell and the Vikings his way. O’Connell mentions the trait as his conversation starter. So, when one pulls Hall’s college stats and sees his completion percentage as delightful, it should be no surprise that the Viking settled on him as the project quarterback.
The evidence was there all along.
Former Vikings QB Tearing up USFL
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,’ and The Doors (the band).
All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.
You must be logged in to post a comment.