Nick Mullens Found a New Low
A week ago, the Minnesota Vikings gave away a game they needed to win against the Cincinnati Bengals. With their playoff hopes dwindling, Kevin O’Connell stuck with Nick Mullens for the whiteout game against the Detroit Lions. Instead of showing a greater semblance of veteran leadership, he gave another game away.
Nick Mullens Found a New Low
The Minnesota Vikings traded for Nick Mullens ahead of the 2022 season to provide Kirk Cousins with a high-quality backup option. After Sean Mannion showed complete ineptitude when being elevated into emergency action, the hope was that Mullens would use his previous experience in the league to keep the Vikings in games.
Four interceptions against the Lions later, and Mullens looked nothing short of terrible.
Sure, he threw for 411 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sure, he averaged 11.4 yards per attempt on his 36 passes. None of that matters when you make such mind-numbingly poor decisions, though. Where Josh Dobbs had multiple passes tipped during his four-interception game, Mullens simply threw non-competitive and boneheaded passes.
With an opportunity to win the game and complete a comeback, Mullens stared down Justin Jefferson and unleashed an absolute duck to seal it. Brandon Powell found himself wide open to the left of the field, and although Jefferson had a window to make a catch, it wasn’t going to matter with the wobbler that Minnesota’s quarterback uncorked.
For two weeks in a row now, Mullens has not only been bad when making plays but also his ability to show veteran presence on the field, which has been non-existent. After challenging the butt fumble for an all-time terrible play last week, he followed it up this week by attempting to turn the ball over as he was being sacked once again. Those scenarios are exactly where you’d hope a veteran knows to protect the football and fight for another down, but that thought process seems to escape him.
I can’t pretend to know what Jaren Hall brings to the table at this point. O’Connell has seen him in practice for nearly a full season now and has a much more intimate idea of what the rookie should be expected to do. That said, there’s very little chance it can be worse.
The argument against playing Hall is that Minnesota still has something to play for. That remains true with games against the Packers and Lions left, but it’s hard to suggest that Mullens gives Minnesota any sort of a chance to win. Two weeks in a row, he has shown that he’s not the guy. O’Connell has flip-flopped so hard on his decision that Dobbs hasn’t even been active for the past two weeks.
It has been somewhat of a theme this season that the Vikings head coach makes decisions past the point of no return. Alexander Mattison got run longer than he should have, and Dobbs before Mullens did as well. We have reached that point with the latest veteran backup, and not giving Hall snaps seems to be a mistake.
No matter what happens, this team has shown they won’t overcome the loss of Kirk Cousins, and that’s beyond understandable. How terribly a pair of veteran backups who have been in the league for a while have shown that sitting and gaining experience doesn’t provide any assurances.
Nick Mullens was bad a week ago and found a new low in front of the home fans.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.