Unless Nick Foles or Jeff Hostetler is somewhere on the roster, let’s face it, it really doesn’t matter who wins a team’s QB2 job leading up to a regular season.
Almost all NFL teams’ seasons will be disqualified from Super Bowl contention if the QB1 falls victim to season-ending injury. The 1990 New York Giants and 2017 Philadelphia Eagles are the exceptions from the last 35 years.
So when you read the headline Why It’s Important for Kellen Mond to Win the QB2 Job, there’s a temptation to shrug shoulders and think, “It’s the backup quarterback who will never play.”
But for Kellen Mond and the 2022 Minnesota Vikings, the QB outcome is more nuanced.
With Mike Zimmer no longer linked to the organization, Mond is getting a fair shake this summer to win the franchise’s QB2 job. And he should win it. He was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2021 NFL Draft, a spot where a man should reasonably be good enough to win a QB2 gig. Plus, Sean Mannion is his competition, and Mannion isn’t very dynamic or productive on the field.
The “will he or won’t he” win the QB2 for Mond is vitally important for one reason. Cover your eyes, but there is a chance the Vikings again finish in the neighborhood of 8-9 and miss the playoffs. And if they do, the Kirk Cousins experiment will draw to a close.
Well, the team will shop for a new quarterback. By then, you will have learned if Mond was promising enough to win a QB2 job. If he did, Mond would then be in the running to succeed Cousins as the Vikings starting QB.
Conversely, if he does not win the QB2 assignment this summer, then Mond will never be QB1-caliber talent. The man’s one mission this summer is to dethrone the underwhelming Mannion as QB2. That’s it. Should he not accomplish the task, the pick was a poor one by Rick Spielman. Plain and simple.
Indeed, Cousins never misses time to injury — his only missed game ever was because of the coronavirus in 2021 — so it is correct that Mond is unlikely to make an impact on the 2022 campaign.
Yet, now that he’s lined up for a fair audition with Kevin O’Connell’s staff, something not afforded to him by the previous regime because of silly draft grudges, you’ll know by the start of September if Mond is progressing as a potential starting quarterback. Stealing QB2 responsibilities from Mannion should be a cakewalk for a young, mobile passer like Mond.
Imagine Teddy Bridgewater trapped behind Shaun Hill in 2015. Doesn’t make sense, does it? That was the way of things with Mond curiously positioned behind Mannion in 2021.
Training camp and the preseason are simple litmus tests for Mond. Can you be better than Mannion? That’s the question fans can ask of the 22-year-old. If the answer is no, Mond is not a viable QB option for life after Cousins (which may not even be needed if all goes according to play for Cousins, O’Connell, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah).
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).