Vikings Make One Final Change at QB

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) drops back to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

When the Vikings play their final game of the season, a road game in Detroit, they can still reach the playoffs with their own victory and some massive help from other teams. Minnesota needs a loss from either the Buccaneers or the Saints and they need Green Bay and Seattle to fumble their final contest of the season.

Vikings Make One Final Change at QB

Vikings Make One Final Change at QB
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While that is an unlikely scenario, the Vikes will still try to make it happen, regardless of the long-term outlook that might be better with an improved draft position to secure the best prospect. For that reason, head coach Kevin O’Connell had to spin his QB carousel one final time to start the guy that gives his group the best chance to win.

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He announced on Monday that he had made his decision but didn’t want to declare the name as he wanted to talk to the players first. After doing that, O’Connell named Nick Mullens the starting passer for the longshot playoff push in Detroit.

Mullens has started two matchups this season, in Cincinnati and at home versus Detroit. With him under center, the offense has at least been functional, going for roughly 400 yards and 24 points in each game. But the coaching staff decided to bench him regardless as six of his passes were intercepted in those two games and giving the ball away in that frequency is a death sentence for every quarterback.

However, his successor (and predecessor) Jaren Hall was overwhelmed by Green Bay’s defense. He was hesitant and the lights seemed too bright for him, something that should’ve been expected from a fifth-round rookie passer, especially from someone who played at BYU and not at a powerhouse in multiple big contests.

The third candidate was Joshua Dobbs who led the Vikings to a pair of unlikely wins over the Falcons and Saints but his magic dwindled in the following weeks, to the point where Minnesota couldn’t score a single point through three quarters in Las Vegas, leading to the decision to pull him for Mullens.

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With Mullens starting, the receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are in line to post big numbers as he is unafraid to throw the ball in their direction regardless of the coverage. On the flip side, those gunslinger tendencies have led to a bunch of turnovers.

Because the QB situation without Cousins has been a disaster, the Vikings will either re-sign him in a couple of months or invest big in the draft to find his successor. After a terrible year like this, there is a close to zero chance that the regime around O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah would go into a season with a shaky QB room.

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A loss could help in that regard as the top quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are expected to fly off the board with the first two picks, with LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. flying up the draft boards in mock drafts with many teams looking for a new signal-caller. Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix could be other candidates.

Mullens will get a third chance to lead the Vikings onto the field. He is the logical choice as he is the best quarterback for this offense. O’Connell has not named his backup.

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