Where Do Things Stand in the Minnesota Vikings Backup QB Competition?
Well, folks, Saturday’s game was ugly. I don’t think anyone associated with the Vikings is happy with how things went. Coaches, players, and fans are all less than thrilled, and rightfully so. We watched three hours of football train wreck. Be that as it may, it was one game, so there’s very little reason to overreact. One positive thing – at least from a writer’s perspective – is that the game gave us a better idea of where things stand in the Minnesota Vikings backup QB competition.
The Minnesota Vikings and The Backup QB Competition
Before the draft, I expressed some concern about the backup QB situation. For a while, it looked like it was going to be Kirk Cousins, Nate Stanley, and Jake Browning heading into the season. It was an unenviable position to be in. Say what you want about Cousins, but there’s no doubt he gives us a better shot to win than Stanley and Browning.
One thing I did note, though, was that Minnesota had a representative at Kellen Mond’s pro day. I then concluded that perhaps they’d choose him: “It’s also not smart to overlook the fact that Minnesota once again has oodles of draft picks and a clear need at the QB position. Perhaps the backup will be Mond.” As fate would have it, Minnesota made Mond a Viking not too along after I put those words down in digital ink.
For the first portion of camp, Mond was the clear-cut favorite to be the backup QB for our Minnesota Vikings. The Covid fiasco, though, certainly changed the water on the QB beans. The Vikings were forced to sign a couple camp arms just to be able to run practices. Meanwhile, Jake Browning asserted himself in the competition. Heading into the Denver game, Browning’s hold on the depth chart seemed relatively firm.
Unfortunately, Browning had a measly 31 passing yards to go alongside his 5/10 passing. He didn’t throw with anticipation, holding onto the ball for too long. His passes were high and lacked velocity. His interception was taken back for a touchdown. When asked about whether he felt like it was a missed opportunity, Browning indicated, “Yeah, I think it was definitely a lost opportunity if you don’t put any points on the board.” He indicated that his response would be to keep things on a day-to-day approach. In fairness, it’s been a long, long time since Browning has played in an actual game. Nevertheless, it was a lousy performance.
Mond didn’t set the world on fire, but he looked considerably better. His passes were crisper and he was more decisive. Mond didn’t play well, but he was the better QB. He went 6/16 for 53 passing yards, though he did add 25 rushing yards. He also almost had a TD pass to Whop Philyor, but the WR dropped the pass after getting hit. The rookie QB is just getting back from Covid and only had a few practices before the Denver game. He was far more upbeat in his postgame press conference.
One thing both QBs had to navigate was the simple fact that Minnesota’s game plan was exceedingly bland. Neither had much opportunity to get creative, nor were they really given the chance to prioritize the passing game. It was a lot of runs for Asim Rose (who played well). These next two preseason games will be fascinating, especially if the coaching staff allows the QBs to throw the ball more.
The Main Takeaways
As it stands, Kellen Mond looks like the frontrunner to be the Minnesota Vikings backup QB. It is the games, after all, that ought to matter the most when it comes to the competition.
When the Vikings take on the Colts on Saturday, I expect Kirk Cousins to eat up at least a full quarter of football. It would be surprising if Mond wasn’t given an opportunity to get some snaps with the 2s afterwards. The Vikings are obviously high on him since they chose him at the top of the third round. We’ll see if Mond can seize the opportunity that’s now in front of him.