Falcons Provide Soft Landing Spot for Jaren Hall

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The Minnesota Vikings were dealt a significant blow on Sunday against Green Bay when Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles tendon and effectively watched his season end. Starting rookie Jaren Hall on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons brings uncertainty, but it does seem like a good opponent to throw him in against.

Falcons Provide Soft Landing Spot for Jaren Hall

The Atlanta Falcons, in 2023, are not a good football team. That is not to say the Minnesota Vikings are a juggernaut and can sleepwalk their way into victories against anyone, but as a .500 team, the Falcons leave plenty to be desired. Atlanta has issues at quarterback in that Desmond Ridder has not looked great, and Taylor Heinecke is the epitome of a journeyman.

Falcons Provide Soft
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When things are going right for the Falcons, Arthur Smith is seeing success from the running game, and they are racking up touches in droves. Rookie Bijan Robinson is the focal point of the offense, and both Tyler Allgeier and Cordarralle Patterson factor in out of the backfield as well. Atlanta has an exciting tight end option in Kyle Pitts, but he often gets lost during a contest. Drake London looks the part of a star wideout, but he hasn’t had a good enough passer to keep him involved consistently.

Where the game could trend in Hall and the Vikings favor is that Minnesota shouldn’t need a herculean effort from the offense. With Atlanta determined to run the football, plenty of clock will be chewed up on their offensive possessions. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores loves to bring pressure as well, and that should disrupt whoever is under center for Atlanta. Beyond that, if the passing game can be removed from the equation, then Minnesota gets to make Atlanta look one-dimensional.

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One of the Falcons best players is defensive lineman Grady Jarrett, and after a season-ending injury last week, he won’t be lining up opposite Hall either. The Falcons defense does a good job of keeping opponents in check, but the unit is largely a sum of its parts rather than having a significant amount of standout players.

Coming off a road loss against the Tennessee Titans in the first start by rookie Will Levis, Atlanta has gotten wins against bad Panthers and Packers teams while knocking off the Texans and Buccaneers in recent weeks. Though Minnesota has left plenty on the bone regarding victories this season, the Falcons have nothing to compare against the Vikings Monday night victory against the 49ers.

Beyond just the competition, expectations are not sky-high for Hall either. The Vikings have already brought in Josh Dobbs as a backup plan, and the game on Sunday has the home team as 4.5-point favorites. Hall is playing with house money, and while he’d like to establish himself as an NFL option and kick off his career, no one expected him to be thrust into the situation this soon.

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Filling in for an established veteran like Kirk Cousins will never be a straightforward ask. Doing it on the road as a rookie and amid a winning streak is tough. Hall should take some solace in that the opponent is beatable, though, and Minnesota has to feel well-positioned to come home with a win. If he gets it done, this could be the beginning of a new story.

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.