Vikings QB Nick Mullens: ‘You’ve got 4 quarters to be your best’

The Minnesota Vikings head to Ford Field on Sunday to face the Detroit Lions in the regular season finale, still clinging to slim hopes of making the NFC Playoffs.

The Vikings are 7-9 after a 33-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and will start Nick Mullens at quarterback against the Lions. They need a win over Detroit, a Bears’ win over the Packers and either a Falcons’ win over the Saints or a Cardinals’ win over the Seahawks.

None of it matters if the Vikings don’t leave Ford Field with a win. 

"You’ve got four quarters to be your best and that’s really the only thing that matters. We’re fired up, four quarters to be our best and whatever happens, happens," Mullens said Thursday at TCO Performance Center. "You’re playing for yourself, but you’re playing for the guy next to you. That’s what keeps us going, good or bad. We love each other, and that makes us play better."

It’s been an up-and-down season for Mullens, who spent time on injured reserve with a back issue. That forced the Vikings to trade for Joshua Dobbs when Kirk Cousins went down. Mullens will be making his third start Sunday, and has played in five games.

He’s seen both the role as the starter preparing all week, and getting the nod with the starter struggling and the offense on the verge of collapse. He filled in for Dobbs at Las Vegas, and led the Vikings to their only points in a 3-0 win. He replaced Jaren Hall at halftime last week, and led Minnesota on its only touchdown drive. 

He started against the Lions and threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns, but also had four interceptions. He had two touchdowns and two interceptions in an overtime loss at Cincinnati.

"If you’re backing up, you’re just trying to simulate everything, you’re not getting the reps, you’re not getting the feel of what it’s going to feel like. If you get the week, you get to feel what it’s going to feel like," Mullens said. "That creates confidence going into Sunday."

So is he auditioning Sunday for a job next season? 

"You’re always playing for a job in the NFL. Especially as a backup quarterback, undrafted quarterback. Every time you step on the field, you’re playing for a job, and that’s what makes it fun, honestly," Mullens said. "It’s a challenge, and I love it."


The Vikings had a lengthy injury report after their Thursday practice, with six players not participating at all. Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder), Christian Darrisaw (illness), Byron Murphy Jr. (knee), Jalen Nailor (concussion), Brian O’Neill (ankle) and Jacquelin Roy (ankle) all sat out. Murphy missed the Packers’ loss, and O’Neill’s ankle has been a lingering issue.

Ed Ingram (shoulder), Theo Jackson (toe) and Harrison Smith (shoulder) were all limited.