In the wake of an inconsistent summer from Kirk Cousins’s incumbent backups, the Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Nick Mullens from the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday for a conditional 2024 draft pick.
Mullens will have a chance to displace Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond, two of his rivals for the position. After two preseason games and a lackluster training camp performance, neither player has emerged as a clear starter.
After a 17-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, in which they completed 20 of 35 passes for 147 yards between them and Mond threw two interceptions, Coach Kevin O’Connell did not recommend either of them.
O’Connell predicted Monday that the intensity of the contest would remain high until the final seconds. “That doesn’t mean things never change. It’s possible that we’ll want to add a player at a different apposition than quarterback this year in an effort to get the most out of our football team. I have nothing but respect for every single one of the dudes in there.
“While there were a few moments from Saturday that we wished we could redo, Sean and Kellen played well enough to earn a victory. The attacking system is where I want those men to continue to improve in games, therefore I’ve asked them to do so. There will be a day when we can work that out.”
In 2018, 2019, and 2020, Mullens started 16 games for the San Francisco 49ers while playing in an offense very similar to the one O’Connell is implementing with the Minnesota Vikings. He was the third-string quarterback for the Oakland Raiders this preseason, behind Derek Carr and Jarrett Stidham. He started once for the Cleveland Browns last season.
Vikings announced they traded a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Raiders in exchange for QB Nick Mullens. The trade is pending Mullens passing a physical. pic.twitter.com/Oqjc71Dvv9
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 22, 2022
Even though new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah reorganized the Vikings’ football department this offseason, the team elected to keep all three of its 2021 quarterbacks for training camp. In addition to the agreement inked by Cousins, a one-year contract with Mannion was also finalized. A third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Mond has not impressed this summer as the clear choice to replace the incumbent backup quarterback.
Ultimately, “you would have loved to come out of the night feeling like, wow, they both moved the team and scored a lot of points and we’ve got a heck of a hard debate and conversation ahead as a staff and as an organization,” O’Connell said on Saturday.
“Even though we didn’t do that, I still think there were some real teachable moments and then some real moments where we’ll be able to evaluate and kind of really look at where we are at that position as we kind of restack everything to go into this week and see how we need to allow those guys to compete.
“Due to the fact that, as we’ve discussed, time is running out in my head. Our starting lineup is in good shape heading into the Sept. 11 game, and that is where our focus is. However, there are many positions that need to shake out this week in practice before we can feel confident in our team’s depth.”
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