If Not Jaren Hall Now, Then When?
After the Minnesota Vikings were dealt a crushing blow in the form of Kirk Cousins experiencing an Achilles tear, they found themselves scrambling at the quarterback position. With Jaren Hall as the only legitimate option on the roster at the time, it was his turn to take snaps. A concussion ended that in short order, but is another opportunity looming?
If Not Jaren Hall Now, Then When?
Following the injury to Jaren Hall, the recently acquired Josh Dobbs stepped in and stepped up. Despite having virtually no practice time with his new teammates, the former Arizona Cardinals quarterback took the field and led Minnesota to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons. For a few weeks, the legend of Dobbs grew, and his performance helped to keep a Minnesota winning streak alive.
After losing a less-than-ideal game to a resurgent Denver Broncos team, the Vikings were thoroughly embarrassed at home against the Chicago Bears. There was plenty of blame to go around in that contest, but after Dobbs was picked off four times, head coach Kevin O’Connell has been forced to reconsider his options at the quarterback position.
Unlike when Cousins first went down, Nick Mullens is fully healthy and back on the active roster. As the veteran backup, it would have been his name that was called rather than Jaren Hall’s, but circumstances may be different this time around. In recent weeks, we have seen the success the Minnesota offense can experience with a mobile quarterback. Despite Dobbs being a lesser option than Cousins, his legs have helped to create opportunities and keep things interesting.
If the Vikings are going to make a change at quarterback, turning to Mullens would be an unfortunate and less-than-thrilling option. Sure, he has started plenty of games as a veteran signal-caller and has worked to keep a struggling San Francisco 49ers team afloat, but the upside there is non-existent.
Despite Hall being thrust into a starting role before an ideal timeline, it happened and gave us a small glimpse of what could be. With the Vikings needing a spark and working to maintain an offense that utilizes their dynamic pass catchers, a change back to Hall could work. He has the legs that make Dobbs successful and still possesses developmental upside.
The reality for Minnesota and Hall could be a situation of “if not now, when.” At some point, the Vikings are going to have to decide on their quarterback of the future. Maybe Cousins is brought back on a one or two-year deal, but it stands to reason that a high pick could be used in the upcoming draft on a player to be installed long-term. Going that route without seeing if Hall is viable would seem like a wasted opportunity.
At this point, no matter who the Vikings start under center, they will be missing Cousins. Putting Hall in isn’t some sort of white flag for the season, and he should be expected to provide at least the level of play that Dobbs showed during his brief stint of stardom. O’Connell could reshuffle things if Hall flops badly against the Raiders out of the bye.
Minnesota’s quarterback situation likely will remain fluid the rest of the way, but giving the youngster a chance to claim the role next makes a good deal of sense. If you aren’t going to look at him now, there probably won’t be a better chance to do so later.
Hall may not be the answer, but you’d better at least ask the question.
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.