Just under a year ago, the Minnesota Vikings drafted a quarterback. With the 66th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Minnesota selected Texas Tech QB Kellen Mond.
At the time he was exactly what the fans wanted...different than Kirk Cousins. That's not to say that everybody was anti-Cousins, the jury will forever be split on that one, but what Mond offered followed the trends that fans were seeing other teams experience throughout the NFL. He was a mobile quarterback, big bodied with a big arm. Think Josh Allen, think Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson...it was the direction that the league was headed in and now the Vikings were finally on board.
The only problem was, there's no guarantee that the prototype will pan out at the next level.
Through one season in the NFL the reports weren't that positive. Mike Zimmer didn't hold any punches when asked about Mond's development. He wasn't interested in seeing Kellen get reps on the field and he didn't feel like enough progress was being made behind the scenes at TCO either.
But now there's a new regime in place. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell bring with them a breath of fresh air and a renewed opportunity for Mond to make an impression.
Earlier this week, O'Connell met the press during the team's offseason workouts and commented on Mond saying, "I always thought he was really successful in college—successful from the pocket, creating off schedule...He’s got some real athleticism, and I think he’s a naturally accurate passer."
Now, they haven't been able to see him in any sort of real football situations yet, but that's coming next.
"What will that look like in our offense?" Coach O'Connell said. "That’s really up to Kellen and the rest of our guys to kind of make it go. I’m just excited to get on the grass with him next week. He’s been great in the meeting rooms early on. You feel some leadership from him. You feel some early ownership from what we’re kind of putting on those guys. Now, it’s just a matter of can you take it from the classroom to the practice field."
Unfortunately, the pressure all falls squarely on the shoulders of Mond. Thrilled to be a quarterback in the NFL no doubt, Mond didn't necessarily ask to be required to fit the expectations of a quarterback starved fanbase. He was a third round pick, and unfortunately not all third round picks pan out.
To be honest, I'd say that the deck is stacked against him right now. But sophomore development and a fresh start in a new offense could be exactly what is needed to jump start the opportunity we were all hoping for.