Vikings Unlikely to Make Change to Young QB, Insider Says

Kevin O'Connell, Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings are evaluating which quarterback will be their starter with five games left in the season coming out of a Week 13 bye.

After a 12-10 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday, November 27, head coach Kevin O’Connell said he would “take a look at everything” when asked if he would consider a quarterback change following a four-interception night from Josh Dobbs.

However, the decision appears to be narrowing; and rookie Jaren Hall, who was the team’s Week 9 starter in place of an injured Kirk Cousins, is unlikely to take the starting job.

“I would be surprised if, at this moment, it’s Jaren Hall,” KSTP’s Darren Wolfson said on a November 28 episode of SKOR North’s “Mackey and Judd” podcast. “I would not be shocked if they go to Nick Mullens. Wouldn’t be surprised if they just rolled back Josh Dobbs.”

Wolfson’s rationale is the Vikings’ high opinion of Mullens, who was still on injured reserve with a back injury when Cousins went down with a season-ending Achilles on October 29. The Vikings had confidence in Hall, but his Week 9 start, which ended with him landing in concussion protocol in the first quarter, was due to him being the only quarterback available who had been in the system.

Off the injured reserve and with a few weeks of practice under his belt, Mullens is the only competition to Dobbs for the starting spot moving forward, according to Wolfson.

“The debate right now is Dobbs v. Mullens,” Wolfson added. “If Mullens doesn’t hurt his back, maybe they still make the Dobbs trade, but Nick Mullens would have been the starting quarterback on November 5 (Week 9 vs. the Atlanta Falcons). They believe in him that much, to that extent, that he was going to be their guy.”

Vikings QB Decision Weighs on Chemistry With Justin Jefferson

Justin Jefferson

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings made Justin Jefferson‘s long-awaited return official by activating him off the injured reserve list on October 28 – effectively making him available to play for the first time in seven weeks.

But who will be throwing Jefferson the ball on December 5 against the Las Vegas Raiders remains unknown.

In a Tuesday, November 28, news conference, O’Connell made it clear that the decision will be influenced by which quarterback can maximize Jefferson.

“Justin’s role in our offense, really from Day 1 since we arrived here, has always been very, very significant,” O’Connell said on November 28, per ESPN. “Anytime you can infuse the best receiver in football back into your offense, there’s going to be ways to not only get Justin going and make sure he has a critical impact on the football game … [and] the quarterback position absolutely plays into that.

“We’re going to make sure that whoever is playing quarterback is aware and understands the intent behind plays where either Justin is the primary [target], or based upon coverage, based upon the defensive look, how to quickly and efficiently get to the right place to go with the football. In the end that’s what the NFL passing game is about: rhythm, timing, understanding that the defense can and will take some things away, but progressing in rhythm.”

 Vikings Starting Jaren Hall Would Give Team Answers Beyond 2023

Jaren Hall

GettyVikings rookie quarterback Jaren Hall during his first NFL regular-season appearance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8.

If the Vikings consider replacing Dobbs as the starter, Mullens is the safer option over Hall He’s a proven commodity in the NFL with a 5-12 career record who can start a game in a pinch for you — much like Dobbs has been throughout his career.

Hall is the only quarterback who’s ceiling is unknown at this point in the season. Hall looked poised in his first start last month, completing 5-of-6 pass attempts for 78 yards before taking a hit at the goal line that landed him in concussion protocol.

The Vikings’ chances at a Super Bowl are slim without Cousins, but by starting Hall, Minnesota can get a clearer picture of its quarterback situation entering a pivotal offseason for the franchise.

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