The Cautionary Tale about Jaren Hall

Vikings Fans Want Jaren
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Almost across the board, Minnesota Vikings fans wanted to see Jaren Hall start versus the Green Bay Packers on New Year’s Eve.

The Vikings’ coaching staff granted the wish, and Hall performed terribly on Sunday Night Football, all but ending the purple team’s once-promising season.

The Cautionary Tale about Jaren Hall

Hall looked unprepared, flatly didn’t see wide-open receivers, and could get nothing going on offense in a 33-10 loss to the Packers. The man resembled a 5th-Round quarterback — because he’s a 5th-Round quarterback.

Tale about Jaren
Green Bay Packers linebacker Preston Smith (91) forces a fumble by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) during their football game Sunday, December 31, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. © Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Broadly speaking, Hall is a cautionary tale for all Vikings fans. Foremost, here’s a lesson: just because a man plays well on a single drive in a November game does not translate to long-term success. It just doesn’t. Hall moved the ball downfield in a showdown at Atlanta nine weeks ago, and accordingly, some Vikings faithful assumed he could become the next big thing.

He is not — at least not at the moment.

Any quarterback that has reached the NFL level can construct a productive drive. General managers and coaches never get it that wrong. The trick is stringing together multiple fertile possessions, which Hall did not do against the Packers with the season on the line.

Our Endorsement
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

What’s more, Vikings loyalists have seen this before and did not learn the lesson two years ago. With Sean Mannion on tap to start late in 2019 — Kirk Cousins had COVID — folks screamed for Kellen Mond as QB1, almost in a unified voice. Then head coach Mike Zimmer insisted Mond wasn’t ready, implying his practice performance wasn’t on par with an NFL QB1.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Zimmer was correct. Mond did not earn an active roster spot in 2023, instead living on the Indianapolis Colts practice squad. Zimmer had no reason to sabotage himself by not playing Mond, but some fans insisted “he hated rookies.”

PurplePTSD: More Mond Praise, Zimmer Back but in College, RG Battle a Wrap?
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Like Mond in 2021, Hall was not ready for the bright lights of primetime, even if fans wanted to bask in his possibly glorious upside. Coaches know.

Finally — and this is nearly impossible for the masses to stomach — some quarterbacks are drafted to become backup quarterbacks. Not every rookie passer is scooped out of the draft for a QB1 assignment. The league needs QB2s and QB3s. When the Vikings found Mond or Hall, that can be perceived as a method to draft a serviceable reservist quarterback.

jaren hall time
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

NFL fans love to believe that every late-round quarterback is waiting on a Tom Brady, Brock Purdy, or Dak Prescott emergence. It’s hope. But the hope is often misguided. Just as a general manager might draft a center in Round 6 to fulfill reservist offensive line duties, quarterbacks are discovered in Round 5, for example, as QB2 or QB3 lifers.

Hall may start against the Lions this weekend; he could play games for the Vikings in 2024 and beyond. But sometimes, certain quarterbacks are like Mond — a single prosperous drive can occur, absolutely. Ultimately, however, hundreds and thousands of quarterbacks are just backups. Plain and simple.

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