It’s Nick Mullens, Isn’t It?
The Minnesota Vikings don’t play a game again until they come off a bye week, and they definitely have uncertainty at the quarterback position. Kevin O’Connell will exhaust all options after the Josh Dobbs debacle on Monday Night Football. It sure seems like he will roll the dice on Nick Mullens, doesn’t it?
It’s Nick Mullens, Isn’t It?
When Kirk Cousins first blew out his Achilles and made his way to the sidelines, Jaren Hall stepped in and got under center. The 2023 fifth-round draft pick out of BYU was thrust into action substantially sooner than anyone had predicted, but in that instance, he was the only available option on the roster.
In the days following Cousins’ placement on injured reserve, the Vikings knew they had to do something. Nick Mullens was already on injured reserve due to back issues, and Hall represented the only option on the roster. Ultimately, they went out and traded for Josh Dobbs as a backup on a short week, and things looked to be settled.
It stands to reason that Dobbs may have found his way into the starting lineup had Hall struggled during his first start. Dobbs had made all of the Arizona Cardinals starts this season to that point, and he had the veteran status tied to him. Had Minnesota already employed a healthy player of that ilk, it seems likely that Hall would have remained on the bench.
Fast forward to where we are now, and plenty has changed. Dobbs went from a Passtronaut, to, well, an unemployed astronaut. His crumbling on Monday Night Football exposed why he has been a career backup, and despite O’Connell doing him no favors concerning the gameplan, four turnovers will never be acceptable.
Working through practices during and past the bye week will get each of Dobbs, Mullens, and Hall plenty of reps. They will each have the opportunity to develop and show a level of chemistry with the returning Justin Jefferson, but if a change is coming under center, Mullens has to be thought of as the leader in the clubhouse.
Realistically, the Vikings had zero desire to play Hall at any point this season. He was thrust into action out of necessity, and while the concussion ultimately removed him from action, Dobbs’ presence could have done the same the following week. As a previously traded commodity to operate in a backup role, Mullens provides continuity and is part of a plan Minnesota has already laid out.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is hardly a superstar, but he looked passably at times and put up a 3-5 record during the 2018 season. He does boast virtually even touchdown and interception numbers, which is less than ideal, and his mobility is much closer to that of Cousins than it is of Dobbs. There are plenty of reasons to detract from a sensible argument to start him, but having already been dubbed the backup is likely enough to elevate his prospects.
Ultimately, it would be nice to see Dobbs get a chance to right the ship with better playcalling. Putting him in space and out of the pocket elevates his gameplay and could make the Bears game look like a long-lost memory. Beyond that, seeing what you have in Hall has both immediate and future ramifications that make his presence under center intriguing. Mullens is probably the least exciting option of the bunch, but that’s how things go.
If Not Jaren Hall Now, Then When?
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.