The Vikings spent most of the summer holding a backup quarterback competition between Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion, but they wound up cutting both of them on Tuesday and going with recent trade acquisition Nick Mullens as the No. 2 behind Kirk Cousins.
Mond was claimed off of waivers by the Browns, so Mond will continue developing in Cleveland. Allowing any team in the league to claim such a young quarterback suggests that Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell have a lower opinion of Mond than Adofo-Mensah’s predecessor Rick Spielman, who drafted Mond in the third round a year ago.
O’Connell was complimentary of Mond when asked about the move during a Thursday press conference and said the quarterback “improved tremendously” over the course of the offseason, but that improvement wasn’t enough for O’Connell to feel comfortable about having Mond as Cousins’ backup.
“I think he’s got all the things you look for in an NFL quarterback,” O’Connell said. “You can put a lot of pressure on a player if he’s not ready. In my personal opinion, I still think Kellen’s got tremendous upside but to ask him to be that No. 2 quarterback, being a snap away on a team we feel very strongly about competing. I didn’t think that was fair to Kellen.”
Figuring out ways to keep all the players you want can be a difficult exercise for NFL teams, but it is hard to imagine the Vikings couldn’t have found someone at another position to cut on Tuesday if they were truly convinced that Mond could become a capable starter at some point in the future. The Browns were more intrigued by that prospect and Adofo-Mensah said that the Vikings are now exploring other options for a third quarterback to add to the practice squad.