Will Jaren Hall start for the Minnesota Vikings next week after Kirk Cousins’ injury?
The rookie out of BYU replaced the veteran Cousins, who left the team’s win over Green Bay Packers with what’s feared to be an Achilles injury
Eight weeks into his rookie NFL season, former BYU quarterback Jaren Hall made his regular-season debut Sunday.
That’s because Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins left the Vikings’ 24-10 win over the Green Bay Packers with an ankle injury with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said it’s feared that Cousins suffered an Achilles injury. Several media reports indicate it’s expected to be a season-ending injury.
“Thinking of Kirk, our locker room, every single player in our locker room, thinking about our leader, our guy right now. I’m just so proud of him, proud of the way he’s played all season long,” O’Connell said.
As for what that means for Minnesota going forward, O’Connell said, “We’ve got to take a look at the best possible options.”
If Minnesota chooses to stick with the options it already has on the roster, veteran Nick Mullens is the most experienced quarterback left, though he’s currently on injured reserve and won’t be available until Week 10 at the earliest.
Mullens started 16 games in three seasons with San Francisco, and also started one game for Cleveland in the 2021 season before signing with the Vikings last year, where he’s backed up Cousins.
“He’s progressing along,” O’Connell said of Mullens working his way back from a back injury. “He’s done a really nice job.”
Sean Mannion is also on Minnesota’s practice squad — he signed with the team after Mullens went on IR. In eight seasons, though, he’s started just three games.
O’Connell mentioned one of those options Minnesota could look at include building around Hall, though at least initially, that looks like a short-term solution until Mullens — or perhaps someone Minnesota could trade for — is available.
The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday.
In three possessions, including one where he knelt the ball twice to end the game, Hall completed 3 of 4 passes for 23 yards against Green Bay.
Hall was strip sacked on his first possession, giving the Packers the ball inside the Vikings 20, but Minnesota’s defense held and didn’t allow Green Bay — which was trailing by 14 at the time — to score.
On his next possession, Hall completed a 16-yard pass on third-and-8 from the Vikings 8 to tight end T.J. Hockenson to convert and help run the clock down.
“Players told me he was very, very good with his communication. I thought Jaren was incredibly cool, calm and collected,” O’Connell said.
If Hall is ultimately called upon to lead the Vikings offense, he said, “I pride myself on preparation. ... I feel more than capable to play.”
The next step will be for Cousins to have an MRI to confirm the extent of the injury.
From there, the Vikings will have a decision to make.
“I don’t know what next week looks like,” O’Connell said.
Following the win, Hall’s thoughts — along with his Vikings teammates — were with Cousins.
“You just hope and pray for the best,” Hall said. “That’s just the guy that we play for. I can’t say anything else. Just thoughts and prayers with him and his family right now.”