Vikings Head Coach Spends ‘Too Much Time’ with 1 Rookie

Vikings Viewed in Same
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings coaches saw their new players on the field for the first time in Vikings clothes during the rookie minicamp. First-rounder Jordan Addison looks as dynamic as advertised. He drew some praise from teammates and coaches.

Like Addison, the other draft picks must learn many new things in their first offseason. The leaning curve in the NFL is steep. Organized team activities, or OTAs, start on May 22, when the rookies will be on the field together with the veterans for the first time.

Vikings Head Coach Spends ‘Too Much Time’ with 1 Rookie

Vikings Head Coach Spends Too Much Time With 1 Rookie
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports.

One of the rookies is getting ample attention from Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. A former NFL quarterback with the experience of coming in without any experience as a rookie draft selection, O’Connell can certainly help the new Vikings QB Jaren Hall with the first steps in his professional football career.

Hall was a fifth-round pick by the Vikings and the only addition to the quarterback room. Many expected the team to be in the market for one of the top passers in the draft, but the first three were off the board after four picks, and the team apparently was not interested in bringing in Will Levis and Hendon Hooker and passed on both. Levis was selected by the Titans; Hooker is now playing for the Lions after the team picked him with what basically was a Vikings pick given up for T.J. Hockenson.

Because of his former QB status, O’Connell wants to help develop Hall:

I was picking my spots today, I tend to maybe overdo it sometimes and I’ve got some great coaches and want to let those guys form that initial relationship, that initial bond. But I spend a lot of time with Jaren (Hall) and I’m a big fan of his, love the way he came out and commanded a group of guys that are learning a bunch of information for the first time.

There were some ups, there were some downs and that’s what we expect and ultimately just trying to give him tangible real things, that when Monday morning comes around and the veterans walk in here and he’s throwing alongside Kirk (Cousins) and Nick (Mullens), that he’s got some real tangible things he can work on every single rep.

Vikings Face Need for Kirk
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell was brought in not just to be the head coach but also to ultimately help develop a young quarterback prospect. Even though Hall was not a highly touted passer coming out of college, he still needs guidance and has a chance to become a good player with the right coaching. The Vikings head coach added:

It’s watching and evaluating and giving them clear-cut coaching points with real tangible ways of fixing those things. And when they do it right, it’s the positive reinforcement that’s exactly how it should look every time. He was pleasant, and a joy to work with for Chris (O’Hara, quarterbacks coach), Grant (Udinski, assistant QBs coach), and myself. I’m sure those guys thought I butted my head in there a little bit too much but they better get used to that.

Hall is a mature draft pick. He is already 25 years old. However, he still has the potential to grow as a football player after only starting for two seasons in college. For BYU, Hall only threw 718 passes for 6,174 yards and a 52-11 touchdown-to-interception-ratio.

Fifth-rounders rarely become successful starting QBs in the NFL. The best passers in the fifth round in the last 20 drafts were Josh Johnson, Dan Orlovsky, and Mike White. It is unlikely for Hall to be more than a backup, but backups have a lot of value in the league, last seen when Brock Purdy kept the 49ers in the tier of contenders after Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo went down with injuries. Purdy was a seventh-rounder and is the frontrunner to be the starting QB for the 49ers, so everything is possible.

Vikings Have Huge New
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

In the worst case, Hall is a test to see how O’Connell can help a rookie QB before the Vikings ultimately draft one early, possibly as soon as next year because Kirk Cousins’ contract is expiring. Getting more experience working with young QBs and getting better at teaching them the NFL game could be a significant advantage for him and the organization. In the best case, the team found a backup, or maybe even a starter, without investing many resources.

Fans will see Hall’s first action in a Vikings jersey when he steps on the field in the preseason against the Seattle Seahawks.

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