Kellen Mond stakes claim to backup job in Minnesota with a pair of touchdown passes in Las Vegas

Kellen Mond stakes claim to backup job in Minnesota with a pair of touchdown passes in Las Vegas

After spending his rookie season on the bad side of former coach Mike Zimmer, Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond found himself even with Sean Mannion for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, behind Kirk Cousins.

Mond took a big step toward taking the backup job on Sunday, throwing two touchdown passes in extended action against the Raiders.

Mannion got the start, playing three drives. Mond then carried the game into the fourth quarter, before Mannion returned to wrap things up. Mannion led the Vikings to no touchdowns.

Both of Mond’s touchdown passes went to Albert Wilson, an eight-year veteran who had a promising start to his career in Kansas City but never became what the Dolphins envisioned when signing him as a free agent in 2018. Wilson is buried on the depth chart, listed as a fifth-stringer. It will be interesting to see if that changes after today.

It also will be interesting to see if Mond’s star rises a bit. He completed nine of 14 passes for 119 yards. He finished with a passer rating of 130.7.

The touchdown throws came from the pocket, with Mond showing decisiveness and firing the ball while standing still. Perhaps the most encouraging play (despite finishing in an incompletion) came when Mond used his legs to buy time, something the Vikings haven’t enjoyed since Case Keenum in 2017.

Mond is no threat to Cousins, this year. Things could get interesting in 2023, when Cousins will enter (once again) a contract year. Will the Vikings extend him again, or will they let Cousins enter camp as the starter, recognizing that Mond could maybe take over at some point?

There’s a chance the Vikings will opt for none of the above. However, Mond’s wage-scale contract which has three years remaining gives the Vikings a chance to see whether the new regime can make the old regime (well, at least the former G.M.) look good for the decision to use a third-round pick on Mond in 2021.

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