BYU QB SNAKEBITTEN
Jaren Hall was the talk of the town in Minneapolis just two days ago.
Fans anxiously awaited the debut of the rookie 5th round draft selection after the season ending injury to predominantly fan favorite, Kirk Cousins.
Cousins was down and so were Vikings fans spirits.
Yet as any good fan base tends to do, the Viking faithful talked themselves into how the season could still be saved.
The offensive line was improved, the receiving core was legendary, the defense was competent and Minnesota had won three straight games. Maybe, just maybe the Vikings could succeed with the next man up.
Case Keenum took this very franchise to an NFC championship as a backup quarterback. Nick Foles won a chip in Philadelphia. Kurt Warner was a backup, right?
Its rare, its unlikely, but if you’re saying there’s a chance, then Minnesota was all in.
Fans spent all week leading up to the Vikings battle with Atlanta pouring over BYU game tape and highlight reels displaying Hall’s elusiveness and speed mixed with maturity and accuracy.
After many discussions on Hall being the next iteration of Tom Brady, game day was upon us.
The first drive was exactly what you may expect with a 5th round rookie getting his first start against a top ten NFL defense. It was a three and out that saw Hall find fellow rookie Jordan Addison for no gain, capped with a scrambling Hall picking up 8 yards under duress.
The second time around Hall lit Vikings social media pages on fire and gave the state of Minnesota a fresh breath of lake air. It went a little something like this:
18 yards to Johnny Mundt.
A 47-yard bomb to Alexander Mattison.
Hall finding Brandon Powell for 9 yards.
KJ Osborn for 4 yards off the hand of Hall all the way down to the Atlanta one yard line.
Jaren Hall had just led Vikings down the field in surgical fashion. No penalties to push Minnesota forward, no run game to gash the defense for big yards (-3 yards from the Viking backfield at this point), no gimmicks.
It was just Jaren Hall looking like he belonged.
After a failed run attempt that yielded -3 yards again for the team in purple, Hall called his own number.
From the Falcons 4-yard line, Hall took the snap on 3rd and goal, stepped up in the pocket to avoid the oncoming rush, tucked the ball in his left hand and took off for his first ever NFL touchdown.
Or at least that’s what Viking fans, BYU fans and many football fans were hoping for before he was smacked by Atlanta’s Jeff Okudah at the 1-yard line.
Okudah’s shot stood up Hall who was promptly shoved to the turf by Falcon’s linebacker Kaden Elliss just shy of the goal line.
The full body shove would result in a nasty helmet to turf connection, and a scary sight that only ever correlates with one injury: a concussion.
The newly minted Vikings signal caller was gone as quickly as he had arrived, teasing fans with quarterbacking brilliance and potential that would seemingly go untapped for the time being.
Newly acquired quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, entered the game for the Vikings, stole the show, won the game and became the darling of the NFL weekend and rightfully so.
Dobbs would go on to be named the starter today, have his jersey appear in the team store and is now slated to lead a resurgent Vikings team into the sunset as long as the hot hand stays hot.
In the brilliance and excitement of Dobbs comes the unfortunate side for Jaren Hall.
Hall was handed the keys to the sports car, only to have them taken away before he could ever put it into drive.
We may not have seen the last of Hall, but Minnesota is Josh Dobb’s team moving forward.
Dobbs earned it in every way possible with one of the most miraculous stories to come out of the NFL in some time.
That being said, you have to feel for Jaren Hall, who looked primed to take full advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime only to have rotten luck come roaring his way.
This isn’t to say he didn’t leave an impression on fans, and Minnesota faithful will be happy to have him back on the sideline when he’s feeling better.