Can the Second Year Quarterback Make the Jump?
The Vikings are getting deeper into their OTAs. This is the time of year when players are learning the new scheme, and coaches are learning what the players are good at. Essentially, it is a time of exploration to see who has it and who doesn’t.
One of the biggest questions many fans have is, where is Kellen Mond’s development? This is a critically important question. Many fans have been ready to move on from Kirk Cousins since he signed his fully guaranteed deal in 2018.
That makes Kellen Mond’s development that much more critical. As of this moment, he is the only glimmer of hope that the Kirk Cousins era is coming to an end. However, that only happens if Mond improves, and he needs to improve … a lot.
Thankfully, the new offensive coaching staff is more eager to work with the young man than Mike Zimmer. There was a theory that Zimmer hated rookies. This theory almost implies that he sabotaged the development of players like Mond.
While that is quite the crazy theory, it isn’t far off. Although, Zimmer wanted to put the team in the best position to win, and if that meant not starting a guy like Mond, then that is what he was going to do. But now Mond has Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips by his side, and it’s time to get to work.
What Does Kellen Mond Need to Improve Most?
When it comes to any quarterback’s development in the NFL, the number one thing they must do is adapt to the speed of the NFL. Additionally, the time to throw gets shorter, the windows to throw the ball get tighter, and the defensive schemes become more difficult to read.
In college, a quarterback will have 3 to 4 seconds to throw the ball. Well, in the NFL, that is going to tighten up. A quarterback in the NFL will need to make the read and throw the ball in about 2.5 seconds. This is incredibly fast-paced.
Last year, during the preseason, we saw Mond play. Unfortunately, he didn’t look to be making the reads quickly enough or the correct read. This could be fixed through simplified play calls. However, the time to throw is still lightning fast. He will need to make significant improvements here.
Although, Mond’s biggest weakness is his accuracy. He has all the arm strength you want in a quarterback, but he does not hit his target as well as you would hope. This is a critical issue, mainly because the windows in the NFL are so small.
On the bright side, Wes Phillips has been quick to praise him during OTAs, as Chris Tomasson reported:
This should be music to everyone’s ears. Hopefully, Mond improves enough to earn the backup role. Maybe he even improves to the point that the Vikings feel comfortable moving on from Cousins sooner rather than later.
However, being sharp in drills is much different than during the game. Only time will tell if Mond can improve enough. We should learn a lot more once the preseason kicks off.
Mitch Massman is a life-long Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3