What Will Jaren Hall’s Role Be in 2023?
The Vikings strangely entered the offseason with only one passer on the roster, and that one passer, Kirk Cousins, entered the final year of his contract. Trade rumors of Cousins to the 49ers are annual, but they were always unlikely to come to fruition.
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t extend Cousins’ deal. He will be in a contract year for the first time in his Vikings tenure. His backup Nick Mullens re-signed with the organization for two seasons. Adofo-Mensah entered the draft expecting to select a third QB, either early in the event or late. He chose the latter.
What Will Jaren Hall’s Role Be in 2023?
The Vikings selected Jaren Hall in the fifth round with the 164th overall pick. Hall played college football at BYU. Like all late-round quarterbacks, the passer has some intriguing skills but also some weaknesses and red flags. The most glaring one is his age. He turned 25 years old in March. On the flip side, that age is also one of his most valuable assets because he is remarkably mature for a rookie. The way he talks in interviews can remind folks of a ten-year veteran who has seen it all.
Hall’s role in the upcoming season will be interesting because it can go two different ways. It depends on the backup QB situation. Of course, Cousins is the starting quarterback of the 2023 Vikings. Everything beyond 2023 is a mystery, but we all know he will be the guy in the upcoming season.
But what happens behind him? Mullens doesn’t just sound like a veteran. He is one. The former 49ers starter has thrown 655 passes in his NFL career. He took snaps in 24 games and started 17. That is notable because the job of a backup is not just to come into the game when the starter is hurt or in blowouts, his job is to prepare the starter for the game, to function as an assistant coach, and that is a lot easier when the player has experience. That’s why the Vikings kept Sean Mannion for such a long time. He was fantastic at that.
In addition, Mullens is fully capable of playing the position and keeping the team in a game if something happens to Cousins. In his 17 career starts, Mullens threw for over 4,500 yards and 24 touchdowns. He can be a real gunslinger, with both advantages and disadvantages, as he also threw 21 interceptions in those games, four of which were returned for a touchdown. Way too many in the sample size, which equals one season.
Hall’s stats at BYU show 52 passing touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. He fired up 6,174 passing yards on 718 attempts and 800 rushing yards for 9 touchdowns, indicating a decent level of athleticism. Hall is a playmaker. He wants to scramble and escape the pocket to make plays with his arm.
The rookie is a good and accurate thrower but still needs to work on some mechanical things, especially to optimize his arm strength, which is one of his worst attributes. He can still make every throw but needs to be more consistent. All of those things take time. When the Vikings drafted Hall, he secured the top spot in Kevin O’Connell’s QB school. The former NFL backup quarterback and now Vikings head coach hinted that he spends a lot of time with Hall, and that won’t change anytime soon.
Unless Hall is a total disaster, which would be a surprise, he will be on the roster. However, no matter his maturity level, a rookie fifth-rounder isn’t an ideal backup. Nick Mullens will claim the spot for that reason.
The NFL has seen the catastrophic debacle of the 49ers’ quarterback injuries in the NFC Championship game. Starter Brock Purdy hurt his elbow, and his backup Josh Johnson, suffered a concussion. It was the injured Purdy who had to receive snaps just to hand the ball off to Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey. Because of that game, teams are unlikely to change their thought process and keep three QBs more often than not. They could also dress a third passer on gameday instead of just the normal two.
Hall will be the developmental quarterback. He might get some snaps in blowouts if the Vikings indeed dress him on gameday, but he shouldn’t be expected to play football in the regular season in 2023, barring injuries. However, he can show something to coaches every day in practice. If it’s enough, he could secure an opportunity to compete for the starting gig once the team moves on from Cousins. Sam Howell, a 2022 fifth-rounder, is starting for the Commanders.
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
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