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Vikings Impressed by Jaren Hall from 1st Combine Meeting Through Pro Day

EAGAN, Minn. – Minnesota was the first team Jaren Hall met with at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Two months later, Hall answered a phone call from the Vikings, who told him they were drafting the QB with the 164th overall pick.

The former Cougar couldn't be happier.

"I walked away from that [combine] interview blown away with the organization, the coaching staff, and it was everything I felt in that room. All the people present," Hall told Twin Cities media members via videoconference Saturday. "It's one of my favorite organizations, and I've just always had a great feeling about them.

"We kept in talks over the phone for the next few weeks," he added. "Didn't have any visits or workouts, just kind of coaches checking in now and then. But I'm grateful that that's where I landed today. That's always been a team I've felt great about."

Vikings Director of College Scouting Mike Sholiton and his colleagues share Hall's excitement about joining Minnesota.

Sholiton spoke with media members shortly after the pick and credited Hall's on-field skills and high-level character, which is an emphasis of General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.

Sholiton said Hall being the first quarterback hosted by the Vikings in Indianapolis was more of a scheduling thing but "may be a little bit of karma for us."

View photos of BYU QB Jaren Hall who was selected No. 164 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

He offered an anecdote to demonstrate Hall's integrity.

"We set up a play for him in the combine interview where we knew his receiver ran the wrong route, and we were trying to give him a chance to say, 'This player was wrong.' All he was willing to say way, 'I've got to make it right,' " explained Sholiton. "So that level of accountability and problem solving [stands out].

"He has that knack for turnover avoidance, that high touchdown to interception ratio, and just the efficiency he plays with are those types of qualities that we're looking for," Sholiton continued. "Obviously he has mobility. Not every play is blocked up perfectly. Not every route is run at the perfect depth and timing, so Jaren has a knack for making his teammates right."

Hall started 24 of 31 games for BYU, completing 468 of 718 passes (65.2 percent) and 52 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. He rushed 181 times for 798 yards and nine touchdowns.

He said mobility will "always be part of who I am" on the football field.

"I think that's what helps me. That's one of my best assets, you know, being able to extend plays when they break down," Hall said. "And I think until you get to the point where you understand the game like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson and some of the guys that really are some of the premier pocket passers, you've gotta use that ability as much as you can, without jeopardizing your health and your body, and that's something I've gotten better at in my career.

"I think a lot of times early on, athletic quarterbacks use it a lot more because you're still learning and you're getting comfortable, and that's just part of that process," he added.

Hall watched a number of Vikings games during the draft process, he noted, and feels confident that his experience at BYU, which utilized pro style and spread offense "and everything in between," will translate well to O'Connell's system.

"I think naturally I just have some exposure to a lot of what Minnesota does, and I think the more time I spend with the coaches and the players and learn from guys that are there currently, I'll get more comfortable and adapt to whatever it is they need me to do," Hall said.

He's quite familiar with Kirk Cousins' NFL career, both as a Vikings and before then with Washington.

Hall, who also played two seasons of baseball at BYU, said he really started falling in love with NFL football around the time Cousins was drafted by Washington in 2012, and he's excited to work with the veteran passer in Minnesota.

"I think there's a lot I can learn from him. I'm excited to pick his brain as the year goes on and to watch him do his thing," he said. "The same with [backup QB] Nick Mullens who's there currently. Two guys I'd like to learn from, two guys that are very accomplished, and I'm just excited to learn from them and be in a room with such great football players."

Hall acknowledged the limited autonomy afforded to BYU quarterbacks but didn't seem intimidated by the potential of making more calls at the NFL level. The prospect instead is exciting.

He noted that his first season leading the Cougars was "all huddle."

"We would call everything out and get everything set, and then it kind of transitioned to a much faster, up-paced tempo like a lot of college teams. So I was just responsible to get the play to my center, to my o-linemen; you know, they get everything called, and I had the freedom to flip protections and protect myself," Hall said. "I didn't call a lot of plays at all in college, but the coaches felt really good about their ability to see everything, and they did a great job. That's all that was asked of us, and I think I'm excited for that next step in the NFL."

Hall's reduced pre-snap responsibilities aren't a mark against him, Sholitan emphasized.

He said it's important to "not penalize players" for not doing things they were never asked to do.

Sholiton was impressed by Hall's transparency and honesty about the situation during his combine interview.

"The humility to know that he doesn't know is just as important," Sholiton said. "We've had players in the past kind of lie through the pre-draft process, fake it until you make it, and with our staff of experts, they have a radar for that. Jaren never tried to pull that off.

"So just the fact he was authentic and genuine kind of led us to believe — his aptitude scores and psychological testing were off the charts. He really tested well in every appreciable metric we can use," Sholiton added. "We're thinking the type of player he is, whatever he wasn't asked to do, he'll be able to learn from some of the best."

At 6-feet tall, Hall is among the league's shorter-statured quarterbacks; but he doesn't find that to be daunting.

He said while his height can create added challenges, it's not impossible to succeed. Just look at Wilson, Drew Brees and this year's No. 1 draft pick Bryce Young, who was measured at 5-foot-10.

Hall emphasized understanding the concept, understanding "where your launch point needs to be" and anticipating where the receiver will be can help the quarterback "see through linemen, see around 'em."

"You're never going to see over them – it's impossible – so you've really gotta get good at seeing through and anticipating space," he said, matter-of-factly. That's something I'll continue to get better at, at the next level, is you have to be a little more anticipating on your throws, and that's something I'll continue to work on.

"It's possible," Hall added. "But you've gotta be willing to put the work in."

After all, playing QB at the pro level isn't all about height.

"There are tall quarterbacks that get a lot of balls batted," Sholiton said. "So it's not necessarily a product of height as much as it is a product of anticipation and preparedness, obviously getting to a point where you can throw and find a passing lane and deliver the ball with purpose. I think that's where Jaren excels."