Vikings Reportedly Name Starting QB for Raiders Game
When the news broke that Kirk Cousins tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time, it was clear that he won’t play in the Vikings first preseason game. The Vikings will face the Raiders on Sunday in Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.
The last time Cousins missed a game was against the Green Bay Packers in a must-win matchup in Week 17 of the 2021 season. Sean Mannion drew the start in Lambeau Field.
It was a disaster.
The offense couldn’t consistently move the ball, and the game became a punt festival.
In the training camp, Mannion and Mond are in a true competition for the backup QB job. Neither of the two is playing good football so far. To quote team reporter Judd Zulgad from Skor North, “This is not a functional situation. Mannion knows what he wants to do, and he can’t do it. Mond doesn’t yet know what he wants to do and it takes so much time to process. Everything we’ve been talking about for two weeks was there in broad daylight for everyone to see… and it’s worse than I thought.”
Mannion doesn’t possess the necessary physical attributes of an NFL quarterback. He is incredibly smart and apparently helps Cousins prepare for games, but the team is not in a position to win with him at the helm. Meanwhile, Mond has the physical tools, but his mind may not be on the NFL level.
However, no matter the struggles, the Vikings need to start one of the two against the Raiders, and reportedly, it will be the veteran.
Mannion was a 2015 third-round pick of the then St. Louis Rams, where he played for the first four seasons of his career. He was a backup or third-stringer for a multitude of different starters. Once his rookie contract expired, he signed with the Vikings. In the first preseason games in 2019, he looked like Mannion, a quarterback without many exciting abilities. Since then, he has been the primary backup for Cousins. Even after he signed with the Seahawks in 2021, he was immediately cut after the preseason, and the purple team brought him back. In 2022, he was a free agent again, and the new regime, Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, re-signed him to a one-year deal.
Kellen Mond had a productive career with 1,358 attempts during his college career as quarterback for Texas A&M. He threw for over 9,000 yards and 71 touchdowns. In addition, he scored 22 rushing touchdowns and gained more than 1,600 yards with his legs. Mond has a strong arm and the mobility of an NFL quarterback. The preseason game will be a big opportunity for him to show the Vikings that it wasn’t a mistake to draft him in the third round. He’ll get a lot of playing time.
It’s not clear who else will play in the game. It’s certainly a possibility that the starters won’t play to keep them healthy for the regular season. The Rams, the former employer of head coach O’Connell, rested all starters last season. Even some valuable backups didn’t play. Big names like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook or players coming off injuries like Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith might not play. The same can be said about aging veterans Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith.
As a result of resting players, depth players will get more opportunities. Receivers Trishton Jackson and Myron Mitchell, who both flashed in training camp, will be able to show why they deserve a roster spot if the star wideouts Jefferson and Thielen won’t play.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt