MINNEAPOLIS - Kellen Mond is less than a month into his career as an NFL athlete, and he’s already seeing how life can be different as a quarterback at the professional level.
All it took was a few practice sessions at rookie minicamp at TCO Performance Center. He’s now taking snaps under center, rather than in the shotgun, going back to his days as the starter at Texas A&M. It’s his new reality after coming to the Aggies in 2017 as the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the country.
"Actually getting out there and on the field and being able to rep it out is definitely different. Super excited to be out here," Mond said last week.
The Vikings made an interesting choice with the No. 2 pick in the third round of the NFL Draft, No. 66 overall. They took Mond, potentially as the next Vikings’ starting quarterback-in-waiting, with Kirk Cousins under contract for the next two seasons.
Mond said since being drafted by the Vikings, he’s watched every game from the 2020 season, and has watched Cousins’ every move. Cousins also reached out to him when the Vikings made the pick.
"Can’t wait to get to work with Kirk," Mond said. "Just him being a mentor and being able to watch him, that’s what I’m excited for."
Mond’s college numbers pretty much speak for themselves, though they are just that. Albeit against largely SEC defenses, Mond threw for 1,375 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions in eight starts as a true freshman. He made 13 starts in 2018, throwing for more than 3,100 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In 13 starts as a junior, he had nearly 2,900 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Last year, he tied Johnny Manziel with 93 career touchdowns and led Texas A&M to a 9-1 season and went onto be named MVP of the Senior Bowl. It remains to be seen what his future with the Vikings looks like. For now, it’s learning the playbook and mechanics of becoming an NFL quarterback.
"I think the biggest thing for him right now is just learning the process of the plays. I want him to be himself, we brought him in here as a talented, athletic quarterback and we just want him to be himself," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Mond’s mobility might be his biggest asset. In four seasons, he finished with 1,609 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns.
He’ll get reps in minicamp, organized team activities and training camp later in the summer. But with Cousins under contract the next two seasons, Mond’s biggest competition will be to beat out Sean Mannion for the No. 2 job. His immediate future is learning how to become an NFL quarterback.
"Just some of the goals are learning the progressions and kind of being able to tie my feet together with each of those progressions. I’ve watched a ton of film on what Kirk did this past year. That’s pretty much all I’m focused on," Mond said. "There’s still a lot more room to grow."