Kellen Mond Could See Regular Season Action Sooner than Expected
The Minnesota Vikings drafted Kellen Mond in the 3rd Round of the 2021 NFL Draft after a spiffy trade involving draft picks with the New York Jets.
General Manager Rick Spielman slid down the draft board nine spots while acquiring two 3rd-Rounders in exchange for the 14th pick in the 1st Round, which turned out to be offensive guard, Alijah-Vera Tucker, who went to New York. The Vikings netted Christian Darrisaw, Wyatt Davis, and Mond.
And there it was – Minnesota holsters a contingency plan for Kirk Cousins who is contractually committed to the organization through the end of 2022. If Minnesota flounders in 2021 like it did in 2020, Cousins-to-elsewhere may be on the docket via trade or otherwise next offseason.
That would kickstart the Kellen Mond era, an idea that is scintillating for a lot of Vikings fans that are anxious to climb aboard the “quarterback on a rookie deal” train.
That’s the long-term forecast. Stash Mond on the bench at QB2 for a year or two and let him learn as Patrick Mahomes did in Kansas City. It’s foolproof, right?
In light of last weekend’s COVID vaccine dustup — three Minnesota quarterbacks were quarantined away from the team for five days – Mond could conceivably be called upon to play in the regular season sooner than forecasted.
Why? Because the strong implication from the coronavirus-related fallout is that Cousins is not vaccinated. Therefore, he will be subject to a special set of rules until he gets the vaccine – and there is no current evidence to suggest that is on his agenda. Cousins has never missed a professional football game due to injury, but this no-vaccine stuff might cause him to miss regular-season games if last weekend was a reasonable indicator.
Jake Browning – the one vaccinated Vikings quarterback as of last Saturday – stole the spotlight with a decent performance at the team’s night practice last weekend. Some believe he did enough to lasso the QB2 job.
That could be true. Let’s theorize, for instance, Cousins is held out of the lineup in the regular season because of another COVID ordeal. Browning enters – underwhelms. The famous Saturday night practice was a mirage. Believe it or not, some players perform well in practice and preseason but fail to translate that output to regular-season games. If that happens to Browning, for some reason, the Vikings won’t stand around and hope he figures it out – not with a playoff chase underway.
Mond would be the next logical audition until Cousins returns. Hell, Mond might end up as QB2 by Week 1 if he dazzles in preseason games. Per offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak, QB2 is a battle up for grabs and will be decided in preseason games.
Boom – the Vikings would get a glimpse of Mond in the 2021 season, significantly sooner than anyone envisioned. Rookie quarterbacks are thrust into the fire ad nauseam leaguewide, so the notion of “ruining” or “alienated” Mond is a mindset entrenched in the 1990s.
Onlookers to the team would see if Mond is the real deal like Dak Prescott was in 2016 when Tony Romo was injured. Prescott and Mond possess similar skill sets, although Mond has a long way to go in replicating Prescott’s success.
Then, dealings would get very interesting. Cousins, a handsomely-paid and apparently unvaccinated quarterback, would watch to see what Mond is all about.
In the event Mond was just fabulous – again, see: Prescott in 2016 – would the Vikings hand the keys back to Cousins? Probably – but the scenario is fascinating to ponder.
Minnesota has a vested interest to watch Mond thrive. He’s younger and more affordable than Cousins.
This COVID stuff – particularly affecting Vikings quarterbacks, of all positions – makes the debut of Mond an accelerated possibility.