Kevin O’Connell Shuts Down Jaren Hall Theory

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The Minnesota Vikings selected Jaren Hall in the fifth round of the draft but passed on a signal caller in the early rounds. Many pundits expected the organization to target Kirk Cousins’ successor as he is in the final year of his contract with the franchise. A late-round pick needs time to develop, but some rumblings started if he would even be on the roster to do that.

Kevin O’Connell Shuts Down Jaren Hall Theory

shuts Down Jaren Hall Theory
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Why would a rookie quarterback not make the roster? Well, there are only 53 spots on that roster, and some solid players will not make it. The spots for players who won’t contribute are limited and a real luxury. Keeping a third quarterback costs the team the option to keep another offensive or defensive lineman or perhaps a sixth receiver because Jalen Regaor, Brandon Powell, and Trishton Jackson have all shown their talent in the last few weeks, but only one can make it if the team keeps five.

Some folks envision Hall as not good enough to take away a spot on the 53-man roster and want to put him on the practice squad. Of course, the Vikings would run the risk of another team stealing the rookie.

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Nick Mullens is Cousins’ backup. The veteran has outplayed the rookie in the preseason, and Hall will have a true redshirt year, barring injuries to both Cousins and Mullens. But this is where things get interesting. The NFL implemented the new emergency QB rule after the disastrous NFC Championship game where the San Francisco 49ers had to keep Brock Purdy with an injured elbow in the game because his backup, Josh Johnson, suffered a concussion, and Purdy was clearly unable to throw the football.

Kevin O’Connell was asked if that rule would help Hall:

I spent a long time diving in on that the other day because there are some unique rules to that but our particular setup is exactly the setup where it benefits because Jaren can be on our roster but more importantly be in uniform as that emergency third quarterback on game day. That gives us 49 potential players on game day.

Just the fact that you can rest easy knowing if a catastrophe happened, an emergency as they call it, Jaren can go in the game and function. Hopefully, we don’t have to have any of those experiences but it is nice for Jaren to be a part of these trips, be on the field, be in those sideline huddles, hearing the dialogue — it is all part of his growth.

Teams can activate the usual 48 players on game day but add another as a designated emergency QB. That player can only enter the game if the other two passers are hurt, not for mop-up duties at the end to give him some reps. Still, it can save a game, as seen in the playoffs.

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The emergency QB must be on the 53-man roster, so stashing Hall on the practice squad and having him suit up as the 49th player is not an option. O’Connell certainly didn’t sound like Hall was potentially a candidate for the practice squad anyway. He already plans the next steps in his development and seems really invested in helping Hall become a better player.

Hall struggled in his first preseason game but looked more comfortable in the second, although he still has a lot to learn. The rookie might be able to compete for the starting role if the Vikings move on from Cousins next offseason.

After O’Connell’s comments, it would be a massive surprise if Hall didn’t make the team.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt