After Michael Pierce announced that he had opted out of the 2020 season, the Vikings were left with a huge hole in their interior defensive line. On Monday, Adam Schefter announced a move the team made that could help address the void left by Pierce:
Vikings are trading a conditional 7th-round pick to the Raiders for DT PJ Hall; Raiders will receive the pick if Hall is on 53-man roster for 6 games, per source. https://t.co/Q4x5IpNOWg— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 3, 2020
We probably shouldn’t assume that P.J. Hall is going to come in and do exactly what the Vikings hoped Pierce would. The Raiders were reportedly going to release Hall, but were able to get a conditional seventh round pick for him from the Vikings instead. That doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence that Hall is a shoe-in to make the team.
Hall was a second round pick of the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders in 2018 out of FCS program Sam Houston State, taken five picks before right tackle Brian O’Neill. Hall saw quite a bit of action over the course of his first two seasons, playing a total of 1,063 defensive snaps in 2018 and 2019. His performance was solid at times and inconsistent at others. Pro Football Focus gave him overall grades of 64.9 and 70.2 over his first two seasons.
Can Hall make an impact on the Vikings in 2020? First, the team will have to decide where he fits best on the defense. Most of Hall’s experience both in college and the pros has been at 3-technique. However, Hall did play about 14% of his snaps with the Raiders at nose tackle. His weight and conditioning could dictate where he lines up as well. Hall is a little heavier than most Vikings 3-technique tackles, but tested very well at the combine in 2018 and had incredible production in college. With lots of players vying for the 3T role and no clear answer at nose tackle after Pierce opted out, Hall’s best chance of making the 53-man roster may be at the position where he has less experience.