Purple Headlines of the Week: Another QB Change, 2 Season-Ending Injuries, a Hall of Fame Finalist

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a loss to the Detroit Lions that ended their hopes at another NFC North title.

The Vikings now look ahead to Week 17 and a matchup against the Green Bay Packers that will either end their playoff hopes altogether or keep them hoping to sneak into a Wild Card spot. It’s been another busy week in terms of Vikings news, so here is a look at all the purple headlines heading into that matchup with Green Bay.

Vikings Make Another QB Change

Purple Headlines
Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) passes the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings are making yet another quarterback change for Packers week. Since Kirk Cousins suffered his Achilles injury, this is the fourth starting QB change that Minnesota has made in eight games.

Ironically, Hall’s first regular season NFL action came against these very same Packers following Cousins’ injury. Down the stretch of that win, Hall completed three of his four passes for 23 yards. A week later, he would make his first NFL start against the Atlanta Falcons.

However, Hall’s time was cut short because of a concussion suffered on Minnesota’s second drive of the game. As the rookie QB dove for the end zone on a scramble, he was hit in the head by a Falcons defender and promptly left the game while being replaced by Josh Dobbs.

Prior to the injury, Hall had actually performed pretty well. He completed five of his six passes for 78 yards while consistently looking poised and comfortable in the pocket.

Season-Ending Injuries

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) walks on the field after losing a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings suffered a pair of back-breaking injuries on Sunday. Both T.J. Hockenson and D.J. Wonnum saw their seasons come to an end after Hockenson tore both his ACL and MCL, and Wonnum suffered a partially torn quad.

This is very unfortunate for both players considering the production that they had brought to the Vikings all season long. After a slow start, Wonnum had been ramping up his pace down the stretch of the season, recording 4.0 sacks in the previous five games heading into Week 16. He is set to enter free agency in March, so the pass-rusher’s status with the Vikings is up in the air heading into the offseason.

Hockenson had already set a new Vikings tight end receptions record going into Sunday’s game and finishes his year with 95. He was well on his way to set a new receiving yards record too. Had he put together 45 more receiving yards over the final two games, Hockenson would have surpassed Joe Senser for the record. Senser totaled 1004 receiving yards during the 1981 season, a record that has stood for 42 seasons.

The ACL tear is bad enough, but the inclusion of an MCL tear suggests that there is substantial damage to Hockenson’s knee, and this injury could linger into next season. The tight end signed a new four-year, $66 million extension before the start of the season, tabbing the Iowa alumnus as the highest-paid TE in NFL history.

A Hall of Fame Finalist

Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) smiles during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Eagles 48-30. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Jared Allen has been listed as a finalist for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024. The former Vikings pass rusher was one of 15 modern-era players listed, and five will be able to enter the Hall as part of next year’s class.

Joining Allen on the list of modern-era finalists for 2024 are the following names:

  • DB Eric Allen
  • OT Willie Anderson
  • IOL Jahri Evans
  • DE Dwight Freeney
  • TE Antonio Gates*
  • DB Rodney Harrison
  • WR Devin Hester
  • WR Torry Holt
  • WR Andre Johnson
  • DE Julius Peppers*
  • RB Fred Taylor
  • WR Reggie Wayne
  • LB Patrick Willis
  • S Darren Woodson
    *: 2024 is first year of eligibility

Allen spent six of his 12 NFL seasons with the Vikings, recording 329 tackles, 104 tackles for loss, and 85.5 sacks in Minnesota. Overall, he sits 12th on the all-time official sacks list. We’ll see if the pass rusher is able to land in Canton, Ohio soon.

In Case You Missed It…

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, we have put together an extra list of reading material for the especially studious Vikings fans. Happy reading!

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.