Sunday’s Game Is Quite Pivotal for Vikings History

The Deadliest Aspect
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

While it’s assuredly not a must-win situation, simply because most fans don’t fully expect a QB3 to barnstorm the league, the Minnesota Vikings possess some mighty stakes this weekend at the Atlanta Falcons.

Sunday’s Game Is Quite Pivotal for Vikings History

The showdown will mark the first real game of the post-Cousins era after the longtime Vikings signal-caller tore his Achilles in Week 8 at the Green Bay Packers. Kirk Cousins, of course, could return in 2024 and beyond, but for now, the club will embark on life without the man for the first time since the 2017 postseason.

Game Is Quite Pivotal
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

At quarterback, the game will be a pivotal marker in Vikings history, and here’s why.

If Jaren Hall Is Great …

Minnesota Vikings QB Jaren Hall addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday. Hall makes his first career start on Sunday, November 5th, at the Atlanta Falcons and is the first Vikings to make a first-ever start at quarterbacks since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.

The Scene:
Hall takes over the Vikings offense, dimes 24 completions on 31 attempts for 280 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and no turnovers.

Well, well, well — meet the Vikings quarterback of the future, coveted by various Kirk Cousins detractors since 2020 or so. The Vikings scooped Hall from the draft’s 5th Round six months ago, a lottery-ticket selection, hoping the man could emulate a starter’s path down the road.

The road was paved much sooner than expected, and if Hall looks like a champ out of the gate, he’ll certainly earn the chance to keep proving his mettle for the rest of the season.

A strong showing, like the one mentioned in The Scene, would begin to convince Vikings brass and fans that this man is the future QB1 — not Kirk Cousins or Michael Penix or J.J. McCarthy.

The Outlook:
Hall is the guy — plain and simple.

If Jaren Hall Stinks …

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The Scene:
Hall takes over and plays like Josh Freeman a decade ago, a laughable stain on the enterprise.

Because of his draft stock, this is a real possibility, believe it or not. Hall really wasn’t supposed to start any games in 2023, nominated as QB3 when the first depth chart was published two months ago.

Yet, his time is here now, and if he plays terribly in Week 9, Minnesota will immediately examine Joshua Dobbs’ and Nick Mullens’ game-readiness, not wanting to allow the 2023 season to crater.

The bad version of Hall would affirm what most Vikings fans already believe — the club will find a way to draft “the next guy” at quarterback in 2024. Cousins could still return in that scenario, but using April’s draft, which is stuffed to the gills with QB talent, for a quarterback will become clear and obvious if Hall looks horrid on Sunday.

The Outlook:
Hall is not the guy — and the Vikings still need a QB1 of the future, likely from an upcoming draft.

If Jaren Hall Is in Between …

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports.

The Scene:
Hall takes over the Vikings offense, dimes 19 completions on 31 attempts for 170 passing yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 turnover.

Perhaps the most likely outcome, this would do two things: grant Hall a further audition, probably into Weeks 10 and 11, while keeping all options on the table for the future QB1.

An outstanding afternoon would put Hall in the driver’s seat for the Vikings, whereas a putrid one would force the team to hand the baton to Dobbs or Mullens. Right in the middle, though, would continue the mystery, as Hall wouldn’t have ruled himself out of the future but didn’t do anything to seize it.

And if Hall pursues the in-between path, there’s a decent chance the Vikings are on their way to a .500 record the rest of the way.

The Outlook:
To be determined is the mantra — and Minnesota waits to see if Hall blossoms in the following eight games
.


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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