Kevin O’Connell impressed by Kellen Mond in spring practices

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell has been equally as curious as fans to see what backup quarterback Kellen Mond would look like in his second-year with the team.

So far, so good for the former third-round draft pick out of Texas A&M.

“Yeah, Kellen’s having a good spring so far, working incredibly hard, digesting the system,” O’Connell told media members on Wednesday. “He made a couple of checks yesterday at the line of scrimmage that he wasn’t prepared play-by-play for, like, ‘Hey, make sure on play 12 you’re ready to do this.’ He just kind of instinctively did that. Those are the little things you look for obviously.”

Mond became a major storyline towards the end of the 2021 season when former head coach Mike Zimmer showed absolutely no interest in seeing him on the field.

Even in Week 17, when Kirk Cousins ​​tested positive for COVID, the Vikings went with backup Sean Mannion as the starter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

And yet, perhaps the most eyebrow-raising decision was Zimmer starting Cousins ​​in the following Week 18 season finale against the Chicago Bears, even with the Vikings already eliminated from playoff contention. It all fed into a growing narrative that Mond was a complete bust out of college.

“Not particularly,” said Zimmer, when asked if he wanted to get a look at Mond against the Bears. “I see him every day.”

Mond showing improvements in his second year is great news for the Vikings. Of course, Mannion is still expected to serve as the primary backup behind Cousins, unless Mond overtakes him in training camp.

O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have no ties to the 22-year-old quarterback that was taken off the draft board by Rick Spielman. The thought of possibly being the odd man out has obviously lit a fire under him.

So he’s off to the races this spring by impressing the one man’s opinion that truly matters.

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