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NFL brings back emergency quarterback rule

This could mean big things for one of the Vikings’ 2023 draftees

NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The National Football League has resurrected an old rule that should help teams to avoid a potential disaster at the quarterback position.

On Monday, the league passed a rule designating a 47th spot on the active game day roster to be used for a team to have a third quarterback available. To be clear, teams have always had the ability to have a third quarterback available, but most teams have gone with two quarterbacks in the hopes that both of them won’t get injured in the same game.

Of course, that’s what happened to the San Francisco 49ers at the worst possible time. . .this year’s NFC Championship Game. . .leaving them without any sort of passing attack in their most significant game of the year.

There are a couple of caveats to the third quarterback rule. First off, the player must be on the active roster. They can’t be called up from the practice squad each week (which also keeps them from getting poached by other teams). In addition, the third quarterback can only play if the first two quarterbacks are injured and out of the game. If one of the two injured quarterbacks are cleared to return to action, the third quarterback must leave the game and the quarterback that had been injured must go back in.

The specific verbiage of the rule is as follows:

Each club may also designate one emergency third quarterback from its 53-player Active/Inactive list (i.e., elevated players are not eligible for designation) who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if the club’s first two quarterbacks on its game day Active List are not able to participate in the game due to injury or disqualification (activation cannot be a result of a head coach’s in-game decision to remove a player from the game due to performance or conduct).

This could be a very good thing for one specific member of our Minnesota Vikings, that being rookie Jaren Hall. The ability to have a third quarterback on the active roster would mean that, if the Viking see something in Hall during the preseason, they won’t have to put him on waivers and keep their fingers crossed that he makes it to the practice squad. He would be on the roster in entirely an “in case of emergency, break glass” sort of role.

Will the Vikings, or other NFL teams, take advantage of the third quarterback rule? With what happened to the Niners last year, I’d be pretty surprised if a lot of them didn’t.