As the preseason gets underway in the NFL, many position battles will take place on depth charts throughout the league. For the Minnesota Vikings, one position battle, in particular, will be interesting to follow: the backup spot as Vikings quarterback.
Minnesota, led by starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, has two players currently fighting for a spot on the final roster. Second-year quarterback Kellen Mond and seventh-year quarterback Sean Mannion fill those two backup spots with the position appearing up for grabs.
The Vikings could likely narrow the final roster down to 53 later this preseason with just two quarterbacks on the roster. If that is indeed the case, should Mond or Mannion be one of the two? If not, where might Minnesota look elsewhere?
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What Should the Minnesota Vikings Do at Backup Quarterback?
Mond was drafted in the third round out of Texas A&M in the 2021 NFL Draft with Minnesota taking a chance on the now 23-year-old quarterback to see if he could be a starter in the future.
With Cousins oftentimes not missing many games, Mond has seen limited time on the field as a pro thus far, but he is getting a chance to showcase his talents this preseason.
In his rookie campaign in 2021, Mond appeared in one game, completing two of his three pass attempts for five yards. In the preseason opener this year against the Las Vegas Raiders, Mond saw a good amount of playing time, out-performing Mannion in the game. Mond finished the first game with nine completions on 14 attempts, tallying 119 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions through the air. He also ran the ball three times for seven yards.
Mond could likely see a heavier workload this preseason as Minnesota and the new regime in place take a look at his potential. If he continues to perform well as he has through one game, Mond could be worth hanging onto as a backup to Cousins. If not, the two sides might part ways to send the young quarterback looking for a fresh start.
— LondonScore (@LondonsScore) August 15, 2022
Mannion, who spent time with the Los Angeles Rams before arriving in Minnesota in 2019, could make his return to the Vikings for a third straight season and his seventh year in the NFL. The 30-year-old quarterback was originally drafted in the third round by the then St. Louis Rams in 2015.
Over the last few seasons, Mannion has appeared in a total of four games with the Vikings, playing and starting in one in 2021. In that start, he completed 22 of 36 passes, throwing for 189 yards, and one touchdown. Mannion also ran the ball twice for 14 yards.
In the preseason opener against Las Vegas, Mannion got the start in the game with Cousins out due to testing positive for COVID. The veteran did a steady job leading the offense. Mannion completed eight of his 12 pass attempts for 79 yards and no interceptions. He didn’t necessarily shine, but Mannion has been a steady veteran leading the offense.
If Minnesota would like more of a veteran option as a backup to Cousins — if there is even a need for that to be the case in 2022 — Mannion could be a prime candidate to fill that role.
If neither Mond nor Mannion is exactly what the Vikings front office is looking for in a backup quarterback. Considering it is reportedly becoming a possibility, the organization could look elsewhere to bring in another quarterback for that spot.
.@SeifertESPN on KFAN:
“My understanding is that internally [the #Vikings] are very open to the possibility that the backup quarterback isn’t on the roster. There are two factors there; how do these guys perform (Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion) and who’s potentially available.”
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) August 11, 2022
For possible candidates, there are a few to consider both currently on rosters and on the free agent market yet.
For players on rosters, names such as Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles, or even San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, could be options.
The Vikings backup quarterback spot is going to be an interesting one to continue to follow. Mond and Mannion will both get plenty of time to make the case to get the nod, but Minnesota could also look outside of the organization to heat up the battle to back up Cousins.