The Minnesota Vikings made an uncharacteristic move in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Reliant on rental veteran quarterbacks over the past few years in Sam Bradford, Matt Cassel, Case Keenum and Kirk Cousins, the Vikings took another stab at developing an early-round quarterback for the first time since drafting Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) May 3, 2021
Minnesota selected Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond with the second pick in the third round of the draft on Friday. Mond was the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school in 2017 and has become one of the most experienced and prolific QBs to come out of college — joining only Dak Prescott and Tim Tebow as the only SEC quarterbacks to throw for more than 9,000 yards and rush for another 1,500. He also threw for a school-record 71 touchdowns while running for 22.
The Vikings announced all rookie numbers entering this offseason. Mond elected to go with No. 11.
Here are all 11 of rookies’ numbers:
- No. 71 – Christian Darrisaw (LT, Northwestern)
- No. 11 – Kellen Mond (QB, Texas A&M)
- No. 41 – Chazz Surratt (LB, North Carolina)
- No. 51 – Wyatt Davis (G, Ohio State)
- No. 93 – Patrick Jones II (DE, Pitt)
- No. 26 – Kene Nwangwu (RB, Iowa State)
- No. 43 – Camryn Bynum (CB, Cal)
- No. 95 – Janarius Robinson (DE, Florida State)
- No. 15 – Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR, Iowa)
- No. 40 – Zach Davidson (TE, Central Missouri)
- No. 76 – Jaylen Twyman (DT, Pitt)
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‘He Just Gets Better Every Time You See Him’
A four-year starter for the Aggies, Mond, 21, got better each year as a passer after relying on his legs as a teenager.
Mond settling in as a pocket passer with the occasional burst downfield in 2020, completing 188 of 297 passes(63.3 percent) for 2,282 yards, 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions for a 146.9 passer rating. He added 74 rushes for 294 yards and four touchdowns.
“You see him push the ball vertically down the field,” NFL Analyst Daniel Jeremiah said, via NFL.com . “He’s got this quick twitch to him, where, when you see it, you don’t see it all of the time, but there are times when he doesn’t have a lot of space to operate, and he can get that ball out.
“He’s a great athlete. He wants to stay inside the pocket and shows you glimpses of that athleticism to make plays like that,” Jeremiah added. “I would like to see him incorporate a little more of that. I think he’s got it in his game, but I like the fact he just gets better every time you see him.”
Vikings Had Mond High on Their Board
Mond’s draft value critique was that he didn’t have a breakout season like many of his peers. Questions came about whether his improvement was his alone or attached to the best offensive line he had in 2020.
Regardless, Mond’s physical talents, including a 4.62 40-time, provided plenty of reason for the Vikings to select him in the third round. General manager Rick Spielman said Mond was in the range of the highest-tier of quarterbacks despite being the seventh off the board.
“You see him right in that area as where the top three quarterbacks went,” Spielman said, per Pro Football Talk .
Accuracy and ability to make special plays when they matter could be the make or break factors that determine whether Mond becomes an NFL starter or a career backup — both of which he can develop under the tutelage of Cousins.