GREEN BAY, Wis. — It appears that rookie quarterback Jaren Hall is going to be the guy for the Vikings moving forward. He made his NFL debut on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field after starting quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered a significant injury.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall answers questions during a press conference after an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. The Vikings won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
In relief, Hall finished 3 of 4 passing for 23 yards, which included a completion to tight end T.J. Hockenson that helped the Vikings put the finishing touches on a 24-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
“We needed him in the last bit there,” Hockenson said. “He stepped up. He was clear in the huddle. We have all the trust in the world in Jaren.”
If the Vikings are indeed without Cousins, who is feared to have torn his Achilles’ tendon, Hall is expected to be the starter in the short term.
“Whatever happens next week, I’ll be prepared,” Hall said. “That’s not up to me. I trust our coaches, and they’re going to do what’s best for this team. I’ve just got to do right by my team and make sure I’m prepared.”
As soon as Cousins went down with 9 minutes, 50 seconds left, Hall immediately started taking snaps with center Garrett Bradbury on the Vikings’ sideline. Not long after that, Hall trotted onto the field for his first NFL snap.
“We were just kind of on our way,” Hall said. “I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. Just kind of let the preparation and time before that kick in. Just tried to soak it all in one play at a time.”
Picked up in the fifth round of the 2023 draft, Hall was supposed to learn the ropes behind Cousins and veteran backup Nick Mullens. At least, that was the Vikings’ original plan.
Now he’s stepping into the spotlight with Cousins going down and Mullens on injured reserve with a back injury. Asked how prepared he feels to take over for the Vikings moving forward, Hall replied, “Very.” He then credited the coaching staff with helping him be ready for this moment.
“I pride myself on preparation,” Hall said. “I feel like I’m more than capable and ready to do whatever is asked of me.”
Talking to reporters postgame, head coach Kevin O’Connell praised Hall for his performance.
“It’s not easy to come in cold — legitimately cold — and get a couple of completions there,” O’Connell said. “The third-down completion to T.J. was big in the landscape of time and forcing them to use their timeouts. Every single offensive player told me (Hall) was very, very good with his communication, snap counts and cadence. I thought Jaren was incredibly cool, calm and collected.”
There’s a chance that the Vikings could turn to Mullens when he is activated from injured reserve. He certainly has more experience in the NFL.
“We have kind of been allowing Nick to rehab, and he has done a really nice job with getting stronger,” O’Connell said. “I imagine he will be a real possibility for us.”
As of right now, O’Connell isn’t ready to commit to his starting quarterback for next week, which isn’t surprising considering he’s still coming to grips with the fact that he has lost Cousins.
“We will definitely talk about the best thing moving forward,” O’Connell said. “It is going to take our entire football team to rally around Kirk.”
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