Enough. It’s Jaren Hall Time.
The Minnesota Vikings put up another lackluster effort against the Detroit Lions over the weekend, and with Nick Mullens looking thoroughly lost, it’s time for Jaren Hall to get his chance. It has to be.
Enough. It’s Jaren Hall Time.
Minnesota’s argued for the past couple of weeks that the Vikings needed to continue playing veterans to keep their fading playoff hopes alive. Despite Jaren Hall getting the first crack (because he was the healthy quarterback left on the roster), his opportunity ended quickly with a concussion. In the weeks since, we have seen Josh Dobbs and Nick Mullens show that a veteran’s presence has virtually no value when talent is nearly non-existent,
Certainly, it was fun to see what Dobbs accomplished in his first two weeks on the job. Coming in against the Atlanta Falcons with virtually no familiarity with the team and grabbing the victory was unreal. Head coach Kevin O’Connell then started to phase out his running ability, though, and Dobbs showed why he struggles as a passer. That culminated in the four-interception trainwreck, and he was benched.
Fast forward to this past week against the Lions, and even with Mullens looking shaky at best against Cincinnati, he doubled down and found a new low. Throwing four interceptions of his own, Mullens looked completely lost under center, and his decision-making was that of an untested rookie with no regard for positive outcomes. Dobbs and Mullens did the opposite of what is expected from a veteran backup. Rather than simply managing the game, being conservative, and protecting the football, each cashed in on every opportunity to give things away.
Indeed, no one expected a fifth-round rookie to be starting this year for the Vikings. This was supposed to be Kirk Cousins’ team, and losing him to the torn Achilles would always likely sink the proverbial ship. That said, it’s unrealistic to suggest that Minnesota has anything to lose by playing Hall. Their slim playoff hopes aren’t improved by anything Dobbs or Mullens bring to the table, and getting game action for Hall could prove valuable.
This offseason, the Vikings will have massive questions about the quarterback position. If they are willing to bring back Cousins, for how long, and how much, it remains to be seen. Regardless, they will likely use substantial draft capital on a signal caller for the first time in a while, and that player will try to push for a starting role sooner rather than later.
In playing Hall, O’Connell may find out whether he has a capable backup that presents a better upside than either of the castoff veterans he has started the past few weeks. Relying on a backup in this league will never be a good bet, but this season has shown how much volatility there is at the position. If Hall doesn’t offer a hint of ability to be better than Mullens or Dobbs a couple of years from now, there isn’t much reason to keep him around, either.
Realistically, the Vikings season is over. They simply are too hurt and facing too much of an uphill battle to overcome the hole they have dug for themselves. Giving the fanbase something to evaluate and a bit of hope that veteran ineptitude can be avoided, both the Packers and Lions games to end the season may be a bit more exciting to watch.
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.