1 Vikings Sophomore Is Merely an Afterthought

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft class has drawn broad criticism as the top guys practically haven’t made an impact. A year later, his second class included some solid contributors, especially wideout Jordan Addison and UDFA Ivan Pace, who had outstanding debut seasons. One guy, picked on day three of the draft, has been the odd man out in Minnesota.

1 Vikings Sophomore Is Merely an Afterthought

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In the fifth round of the 2023 draft, general manager Adofo-Mensah selected quarterback Jaren Hall, who started the previous two campaigns at BYU. Considered by some as a late-round sleeper, Hall entered a perfect situation to learn behind Pro Bowler Kirk Cousins and his backup Nick Mullens.

He, indeed, was expected to be QB3 on the roster, and Kevin O’Connell mentioned that he wanted his rookie active on gamedays as the new emergency quarterback. That plan had worked for seven games and three quarters until Cousins tore his Achilles, which ended his season. It was his first major injury in six years with the Vikings, and he didn’t miss any time in Washington, either. Mullens was on IR with a back injury.

After trading for Joshua Dobbs, Hall was still named the starting QB for the upcoming clash with the Atlanta Falcons. His first drive ended quickly, but his second drive looked promising. A big hit on a scramble knocked Hall out of the game because of a concussion, and Dobbs-mania began.

One Clue Why
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The veteran had a phenomenal run but ultimately was benched for initial backup Mullens. When Mullens continued to turn the ball over, O’Connell looked again in Hall’s direction and gave his rookie another shot, this time against the scorching hot Packers in primetime.

Unlike the first game, nothing looked promising in Hall’s second contest. The game moved too fast for him, and mistakes piled up. Mullens replaced him at halftime. He completed only five of ten passes for 67 yards and one interception. Hall also fumbled once during the blowout loss, which had massive playoff implications for either team.

It is quite possible that the Vikings never envisioned Hall as more than a backup when they selected him. Still, they surely made it official by selecting McCarthy tenth overall. Two months later, during organized team activities, Hall dropped to the fourth spot on the depth chart, behind new arrivals Sam Darnold and McCarthy and returning veteran Mullens.

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Various reports suggest Darnold and Mullens split reps with the first team while McCarthy is the next man up. That slow approach with a rookie is standard, and there is no reason for concern. However, the fact that Hall is practically already buried on the depth chart is concerning for his future.

It would be shocking if the Vikings kept more than three passers on the roster. The two options are trading Mullens to a QB2-needy team or parting ways with Hall. That likely depends on McCarthy’s development. The Vikings won’t ship Mullens if they need him as Darnold’s backup because McCarthy isn’t game-ready.

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After a successful career at BYU with over 6,000 passing yards and a phenomenal touchdown to interception ratio of 52 to 11, his stint with the Vikings is in jeopardy only 13 months after his arrival. He needs a strong summer to retain his job, but it’s uncertain if he will have the opportunity to demonstrate any progress due to limited reps in training sessions and the preseason.

Hall is already 26 years old, roughly nine months younger than Darnold, and five years older than rookie McCarthy.


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

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