Nick Mullens Shouldn’t Be Considered a Longshot to Start for Vikings

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Nick Mullens

It was his job not that long ago.

That’s what Minnesota Vikings fans must remember regarding Nick Mullens, as the club uses the next week and a half to name a starting quarterback at the Las Vegas Raiders on December 10th.

Nick Mullens Shouldn’t Be Considered a Longshot to Start for Vikings

Minnesota lost QB1 Kirk Cousins for the season in Week 8 at Lambeau Field and has since tried rookie Jaren Hall and journeyman Joshua Dobbs on for size at quarterback. Hall was concussed early in his first start, immediately paving the way for Dobbs, who set the world on fire for a couple of games and captivated nationwide attention.

But last Monday night, Dobbs was beset by a woeful game, and after the loss to the rival Chicago Bears at home, head coach Kevin O’Connell would not name a Week 14 starter. All things considered, once the decision is announced, Vikings’ faithful shouldn’t be surprised one iota if Mullens is “the guy” at Las Vegas.

Longshot to Start
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Mullens joined the club late in the summer of 2022 after a then-new Vikings coaching staff had seen enough of Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion in the preseason. He remained the QB2 for all of 2022 and filled the same role until a trip to injured reserve this October.

For some reason, Mullens is classified as a longshot or underwhelming choice to take over QB1, according to some Vikings fans. Check any branch of social media, and Mullens can viewed as a dirty word when Minnesota has Dobbs and Hall at its disposal.

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O’Connell said this week, “You’re going to have to find some of those chunks in the passing game, but you got to be able to do it without the risk of feeling like you’re going to turn the football over. I think that’s what we’re going to have to look at.”

Well, Mullens can provide chunks in the passing game, especially with Justin Jefferson scheduled to return against the Raiders. In fact, Mullens is the purest pocket passer on the Vikings roster next to Cousins, and he knows the playbook better than Hall and Dobbs, perhaps combined.

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The drawback — and probably the reason fans are reluctant to embrace Mullens with open arms — is his mobility. Mullens turned pro in 2018 and has -3 rushing yards to his name in six seasons. That’s right — Mullens is less mobile than Cousins, and Cousins isn’t a scrambler.

Should O’Connell tab Mullens for QB1 duty, Vikings football will return to pre-Week-9 form: a quarterback hanging in the pocket and feeding wide receivers instead of nifty plays with one’s legs or off-script dancing out of the pocket. That isn’t Mullens’ game.

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Had Cousins fallen injured in September, Mullens would’ve taken the baton. Plain and simple. That was his job in 2022; that was his job two months ago. Yet, many folks in Viking Land believe he’s an underdog to become the starter, and that shouldn’t be the case.

There’s actually a world where Mullens could be regarded as the frontrunner.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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