Vikings Rumors: The Flores Flip, O’Connell Committing on a Starting QB, & The Spooky Trade Deadline

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Though we’re now into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors aren’t as abundant, we’ll still be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss Brian Flores flipping around his players, Kevin O’Connell naming a starter at QB, and the Halloween trade deadline (cue spooky music).

The Vikings Rumors: 11.01.2023

Rumor #1 — Brian Flores is Still Flipping Around his Personnel

He certainly is.

And, to be sure, there’s good reason to be doing so. Football isn’t a static sport involving players who never improve or struggle. Instead, it’s a dynamic, shifting form of competing, so a coordinator would be wise to shuffle players around when needed.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores watches his team play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Just think of what’s taking place at corner. Andrew Booth Jr. had taken hold of the team’s CB3 spot, snatching it away from Mekhi Blackmon. In Week 8, though, things flipped back around. The rookie was on the field for 21 snaps whereas the sophomore could only join the action for 7 snaps.

Along the defensive line, Jaquelin Roy is slowly working himself into the rotation. Veteran Dean Lowry only picked up a trio of snaps against his former team. In contrast, Roy snagged 12 snaps and then Khyiris Tonga got worked in for 6 snaps with the defense.

One also thinks of Ivan Pace, the UDFA linebacker who was on the field for 21 snaps in Green Bay. Clearly, Flores continues to move players in and out according to matchup, performance, and likely several other factors. Keep an eye on how the DC manages his personnel when he takes on a talented Atlanta offense.

Rumor #2 — Kevin O’Connell Refused to Commit to Jaren Hall Before Eventually Coming Around to Naming the Rookie as the Starter

That’s true. Initially, the answer was maybe.

It didn’t take too long, though, before officially naming the rookie as the QB1 in Atlanta. Take a look at what O’Connell had to say when asked about whether Hall is getting the start: “So, we’ll continue Jaren’s process of getting him ready to go each and every week. If he ends up being the guy, I know every guy on our roster has confidence in Jaren, and we’re still working through some things what that may look like to potentially add another player here, knowing that Nick is also going to still be out at least, by the rules, another week, and we’ll see where he’s at when that timetable starts.”

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) rolls out to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

By no means an easy assignment, Hall is the best equipped to take on the task. After all, he has been on the roster for the full season, which is more than can be said for literally every other option at QB. Giving the young fella the start is the right move.

On Tuesday, O’Connell confirmed that Hall will be the man.

Another bit of information that’s helpful is how O’Connell managed the game when Hall stepped in. Instead of being super safe by rushing the football, O’Connell allowed the rookie to throw the football several times. Football is a game where actions speak louder than words, and the actions suggest O’Connell was confident in the plays he had for his rookie QB3.

Hall finished his first NFL action having gone 3/4 for 23 yards, with a strip/sack tossed into the mix. He didn’t look overwhelmed and his passes were crisp. Expect to see him under center in Week 9.

Rumor #3 — The Halloween Trade Deadline Contained Some Tricks and Treats for Kwesi

The GM who loves to trade didn’t disappoint.

The first deal arrived around lunchtime when Tom Pelissero relayed the word that Minnesota had scooped up Josh Dobbs from the Cardinals. At 28 and with appearances in 16 games across his NFL career (10 starts), Dobbs gives the Vikings some experience alongside more upside than someone like Sean Mannion.

In Arizona, Dobbs was responsible for a 62.8 completion percentage alongside 1,569 passing yards, 8 TDs, and 5 INTs. Plus, he turned 47 carries into 258 rushing yards and 3 TDs.

The Vikings also traded away Ezra Cleveland, confirming a previous hypothesis that Minnesota would be both buyers and sellers at the deadline. The head coach had good things to say about the left guard, who now gets the chance to be Trevor Lawrence’s body guard.

Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah during the NFL combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Another factor to keep in mind is that there are going to be times when Minnesota gets outbid. Were the Vikings in on Washington’s Montez Sweat? Quite possible. The price from the Bears — a 2nd-round selection — would be difficult to beat. After all, the Bears are a disaster of a team, so trading away their 2nd means trading away a pick that’s very close to being a late 1st.

Now, the passing of the trade deadline doesn’t mean the roster shuffle will come to a complete halt. Trading is simply one avenue for bringing in new players. If/when there’s need for new talent, the Vikings can still lure free agents.

The Vikings have roughly $8.35 million in cap space. Not a monstrous amount, but certainly enough to pull something off if there’s a need.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.