There’s One Reason You Should Be Stoked about the Vikings Preseason

Sep 23, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view outside U.S. Bank Stadium and ship. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings training camp begins in 17 days. Preseason contests are five weeks away, and the regular season formally opens in 66 days.

And while preseason games are notoriously lackluster — the Vikings finished 0-3 last preseason but later won 13 games in the regular season — this season’s edition is a new ball of wax.

There’s One Reason You Should Be Stoked about the Vikings Preseason

The Vikings travel to the Seattle Seahawks on August 10th for the first preseason exhibition, and during that event, plus two more, there’s one reason you should be entirely stoked about Minnesota’s preseason — quarterback Jaren Hall.

You Should Be Stoked
Sep 24, 2022; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) drops back to pass the ball against the Wyoming Cowboys in the first quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports.

Specifically, too, the Sean Mannion era at QB2 is over in Minnesota, and that alone should make one grab the popcorn. Mannion was featured as some sort of QB2 or QB3 in the summers of 2019, 2020, and 2022. He also joined the Vikings after the preseason in 2021.

Of course, Mannion seemed like a good dude, and back-to-back coaching staffs enjoyed his presence, but his on-the-field output was awful. Straight terrible and underwhelming. Alas, the Vikings finally cut the cord last year, trading for Nick Mullens and watching as Mannion joined the aforementioned Seahawks.

Aug 27, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sean Mannion (14) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

This year is different, however, as Mannion is virtually guaranteed not to be a Viking preseason field. He’s a free agent and probably won’t become a Viking in the next two months. Meanwhile, Mullens and Hall will patrol the backup quarterback duties this summer and in the regular season.

Mullens will likely earn the QB2 job because, well, he’s one of the better backup quarterbacks in the sport. But with his ceiling quite defined as a veteran signal-caller, all eyes turn to Hall, the rookie, this August.

Rookie minicamp highlights from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall’s first practice as a Viking after being selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Minnesota found Hall in Round 5 of the event, and he could serve as QB3 in 2023.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah scooped Hall out of the draft’s 5th Round in April, and now Vikings fans begin the trek of understanding if Hall is ‘just a backup QB3-type’ — or the real-deal QB1 style of a passer, possibly on deck to replace Kirk Cousins when the time comes.

Minnesota strategically opted not to extend Cousins beyond 2023 this offseason, setting the stage for his exit next March if the Vikings don’t create a deep playoff run this year. Thereafter, Adofo-Mensah will turn to his QB depth chart and think, “Now what?”

In the next seven weeks, folks will start to learn if Hall is ‘that guy.’ There’s a very vivid chance he is not and eventually falls on the ash heap of forgettable late-round quarterback draft picks. Yet, there’s also a glimmer of hope that Hall blossoms into a starter like late-rounders Tom Brady and Ryan Fitzpatrick from the last 25 years — or undrafted gems Tony Romo and Kurt Warner.

Nov 6, 2021; Provo, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) reacts after a first-quarter interception against the Idaho State Bengals at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports.

No, Hall probably won’t turn into a Brady, Romo, or Warner, but the verdict on his budding skillset looms. The preseason will be the forum to see ‘what this guy can do.’ For multiple preseasons since 2019, Vikings fans pile onto their sofas for mostly boring preseason football made even more blasé by Mannion’s outlandishly bland repertoire.

Mannion doesn’t work here anymore. Hall does. And Hall has the precious rookie adjective next to his name — on a team that desperately needs a rookie quarterback to take the reins in the near future.

Vikings preseason football no longer requires an ‘Oh, God, they have Mannion out there again’ vibe. Minnesota finally said sayonara to that large human being. Hall may not effloresce into a true-blue QB, but there’s only one way to find out — watching to see if the 25-year-old can play worth a damn in the preseason.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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