MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings made a trade on Monday that will change the complexion of the team’s quarterback room for the 2022 season.
It could also be an early indicator that the coaching staff doesn’t think Kellen Mond or Sean Mannion can be a viable No. 2 option to Kirk Cousins at quarterback. The Vikings on Monday traded a conditional seventh-round pick in 2024 to the Las Vegas Raiders for Nick Mullens.
He’s entering his sixth NFL season and has played in 20 career games, with 17 starts. He’s thrown for 4,861 yards, 26 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and has a career 87.3 rating.
"Able to add a player with a lot of experience, a guy that's started 17 games and had some real production in some offenses with some different similar traits to ours. I'd like to think we're doing something here that's our own version of what we're doing, but I've always admired Nick from afar," Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said after Monday’s practice. "I can tell he's a worker, can tell he's a grinder, and a very talented, experienced player."
The Vikings did not play Cousins, or any starter for that matter, in Saturday’s only home preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. The coaching staff has now seen Mannion and Mond play two preseason games, and the results have been mixed. Mond threw for two touchdowns at the Raiders, but was intercepted twice against the 49ers. Mannion was 10-of-15 for 65 yards.
Adding Mullens gives them both more competition for the 53-man roster, which will be trimmed down after the final preseason game. One of Mannion and Mond will likely be released, with the other potentially heading to the practice squad if they clear waivers. O’Connell wouldn’t say Monday the job is for Mullens to lose.
"Ultimately, the competition’s going to go down to the very end here. That does not mean it always just stays the same. Sometimes we may feel the need to add a player at a position – not just quarterback – just to try to maximize what we’re going to be this year as a football team. I feel really good about all those guys in that room," O’Connell said. "I know there were some plays we certainly would have liked to have back from Saturday, but still a lot of positives coming out of the game for both Sean and Kellen. I’ve asked those guys to continue to progress on where they’re at within the offensive system and the competition, and we’ll be able to sort that out when the time’s right, but a chance to add a really good player, which is why we did it."
Mannion and Mond will get one more chance on Saturday at the Denver Broncos, and it’s not clear if or how much Mullens will play.
"We’ll kind of see where he’s at when he gets here. Obviously just coming out of a game himself very recently. We’ll obviously put him through a physical and start meeting with him and just kind of see where he’s at," O’Connell said. "I have not determined true playing time for anybody on our roster yet."
The Vikings head to Denver Saturday night for their preseason finale at 8 p.m., which you can watch on Fox 9.