Some subtle suggestions are circulating in the Minnesota Vikings media orbit that the franchise is currently devoid of a bonafide backup quarterback. While this is wildly true for 2019 and 2020 — free agent Sean Mannion filled the role for two seasons — a QB2 signing is unnecessary and will not happen.
Why is Mannion no longer with the Vikings? Simple. General Manager Rick Spielman drafted Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond in the 2021 NFL Draft, the result of a nifty trade with the New York Jets. New left tackle Christian Darrisaw and offensive guard Wyatt Daivs were the other spoils from the transaction.
For the first time since Matt Cassel quarterbacked the franchise in 2014 — for a minute — with Teddy Bridgewater waiting in the wings, Minnesota owns youthful excitement on the QB slot of its depth chart. Bridgewater took over for Cassel after an injury early in 2014, resulting in a two-year run from Bridgewater that was quite intoxicating for a quarterback-starved franchise.
For now, the starting quarterback is Kirk Cousins, who enters Year Four of duty with the Vikings after six seasons in Washington with The Football Team. Cousins, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady are the only active signal-callers in the NFL to avoid missing any games to injury since the start of 2015. In this regard, Cousins is a mini-iron man — a feat in which the Michigan State alumnus rarely receives credit. The man never misses games. And that’s likely why Minnesota limped through 2019 and 2020 with Mannion as the reservist plan. Still, Mannion-only was not a wise strategy, yet in the end, no crime was perpetrated. Cousins flat-out doesn’t get hurt, and this accomplishment was untarnished, even with Mannion as the QB2.
In the event Cousins did encounter injury and Mond was not trusted for backup duty, well, what the hell? The man was drafted less than two months ago as the almighty contingency plan for Cousins. If he is not ready for the bright lights of today’s NFL — one with rookie quarterbacks seeing action ad nauseam — perhaps the forecast for his future should be immediately tapered. The tarot cards should be ripe for Mond to dazzle if Cousins misses time — or at the very least, experience some trial by fire.
On the “sign a savvy veteran not named Kellen Mond, Jake Browning, or Nate Stanley’ philosophy, who is that man? Robert Griffin III? He’s spent an offseason taking potshots at his former teammate, Cousins, solely for the fact that Mond was drafted to eventually lead the Vikings franchise. He will not be an option for the Vikings. Plus, starting in 2014, Griffin has done nothing noteworthy.
That leaves the veteran QB2 strategy with names like Nick Mullens, Brett Hundley, or a third season of Mannion. Is that really more compelling than a scenario that showcases Mond until Cousins has healed? Absolutely not.
Mond will be the QB2 until Cousins departs the team via free agency or trade. He was selected by Spielman for that purpose. It’s fairly cut and dry. Instead of a thirst for Mullens, Hundley, or Mannion — focus any QB2 talks around Mond because that is his job for the foreseeable future.