However, Hall may have to wait until next season to realize that potential.
After months of watching Hall at practice, Pioneer Press reporter Dane Mizutani declared after his second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans that Hall was likely to be stashed on the practice squad.
“He just looks so green. I feel almost bad for him because I don’t think he’s there yet. He has a little arm talent. But he’s a guy, I think you could honestly cut and [stow] him onto your practice squad pretty easily,” Mizutani said August 19 on the “Purple Insider” podcast.
Through two preseason games, Hall has completed 10-of-22 pass attempts for a 47.6% completion rate and a 58.8 passer rating. Meanwhile, veteran backup Nick Mullens has completed 27-of-43 passes at a 62.8% clip for one touchdown and a 90.3 passer rating.
Hall did show improvement compared with his August 10 debut against the Seattle Seahawks. However, he still has a ways to go before he can claim a roster spot over Mullens — and at 24, there are questions regarding how much more he can develop.
“He looked better than he did against Seattle but it isn’t very hard to look better than he did against Seattle,” Muzutani said. “It’s very clear he played in an offense that wasn’t anything close to pro-style offense in college. There are things he just doesn’t get yet, and that’s fine. He’s a fifth-round pick from BYU. He wasn’t prepared for this moment. He’s even said he has so much to learn.”
The Good, Bad & Ugly From Vikings QB Jaren Hall
Let’s start with one of the best plays Hall has made in the preseason.
Facing third-and-7 against the Titans, he saw pressure coming and sidestepped the edge rusher before placing a ball through double coverage to Thayer Thomas. The pass slipped through Thomas’ hands, but Hall’s flash of poise, manipulating the pocket and delivering a catchable pass to the target to move the chains showed a willingness to make the right throw no matter the circumstances.
On his fourth and final series, Hall marched the offense on a 12-play, 88-yard drive for the Vikings’ lone touchdown in their 24-16 loss. He completed three short dump-off passes for 44 yards and scrambled for a 10-yard gain, moving the chains on third-and-5.
“We got it to one score there; we just couldn’t get that last stop,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said in a postgame media conference. “I tried calling some timeouts to see if I could get one more drive for Jaren. I would have loved to see him in that end-of-game, two-minute drive. … [It] was good to see him engineer that touchdown drive, use his legs to steal a third-down conversion.”
However, Hall also showed lapses in his processing that led him to take three sacks across 26 dropbacks.
Against the Titans, Hall held onto the ball for nearly five seconds, allowing a sack.
Against the Seahawks, Hall had a series where he took back-to-back sacks and threw a ball out of bounds for a three-and-out.
Although this is with a third-string offensive line, Hall is also facing many players who may not be in the NFL by next month.
Hall still has time to produce more good tape against the Arizona Cardinals on August 26, but it appears Mullens is in the driver’s seat to retain his spot on the roster.
Kirk Cousins Has More Leverage in Future Extension Talks With Vikings
When Minnesota drafted Hall, there was the optimism that Hall could be a contingency plan if Cousins walks in free agency next summer.
That future doesn’t seem realistic after watching Hall for a full offseason. This doesn’t mean that Hall is a bust, but his probable ceiling in the NFL is becoming a capable backup quarterback, which takes time to realize.
Meanwhile, Cousins and Mullens are both playing on expiring contracts this season, leaving no answers at quarterback on the roster beyond 2023.
Hall could suffer a similar fate as former third-round pick Kellen Mond and be relegated to the practice squad, creating more leverage for Cousins in future contract negotiations knowing Minnesota has yet to find their quarterback of the future.