GREEN BAY, Wis. – It appears that rookie quarterback Jaren Hall will be the man of the future for the Vikings. He made his NFL debut Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field after starting quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered a serious injury.
In relief, Hall completed three of four passes for 23 yards, including a completion to tight end TJ Hockenson that helped the Vikings put the finishing touches to a 24-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
“We needed him last,” Hockenson said. “He has stepped up. He was clearly visible in the crowd. 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 should be a short-term starter.
“Whatever happens next week, I will be prepared,” Hall said. “It’s not my fault. I trust our coaches and they will do what is best for this team. I just have to do the right thing for my team and make sure I’m prepared.”
As soon as Cousins went down with 9 minutes, 50 seconds left, Hall immediately began taking snaps with center Garrett Bradbury on the Vikings sideline. Not long after, Hall trotted onto the field for his first NFL snap.
“We were just on our way,” Hall said. “I didn’t have much time to think about it. Just let the preparation and time beforehand sink in. I tried to soak it all up one game at a time.”
Hall was taken in the fifth round of the 2023 draft and was expected to work his way in behind Cousins and veteran backup Nick Mullens. At least that was the Vikings’ original plan.
Now he’s in the spotlight with Cousins out and Mullens on the bench with a back injury. When asked how prepared he felt to take over the Vikings’ offense, Hall replied, “Very.” He then thanked the coaching staff for helping him be prepared for this moment.
“I’m proud of my preparation,” Hall said. “I feel like I am more than capable and willing to do whatever is asked of me.”
Head coach Kevin O’Connell spoke to reporters after the game and praised Hall for his performance.
“It’s not easy to come in cold – really cold – and get some finishes in there,” O’Connell said. “The completion of the third period against TJ was of great importance in the time landscape and forced them to use their timeouts. Every single offensive player told me (Hall) that they were very, very good with their communication, their snap counts and their cadence. I found Jaren incredibly cool, calm and collected.”
There’s a chance the Vikings turn to Mullens when he comes off injured reserve. He certainly has more experience in the NFL.
“We kind of allowed Nick to rehab and he’s done a really good job of getting stronger,” O’Connell said. “I can imagine that he will be a real opportunity for us.”
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 terms with the fact that he lost Cousins.
“We’ll definitely talk about what’s best going forward,” O’Connell said. “It will take our entire football team to rally around Kirk.”