EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Nick Mullens from the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday for a conditional 2024 draft pick, giving them an additional option behind starter Kirk Cousins amid an uneven summer for his incumbent backups.
Mullens will get a chance to unseat Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond, who have been competing for the job. Neither has stood out in training camp or in two preseason games, where the two have split reps evenly. Coach Kevin O’Connell declined to endorse either of them after Saturday night’s 17-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, during which they combined to complete 20 of 35 passes for 147 yards, with Mond throwing two interceptions.
“Ultimately you would have loved to come out of the night feeling like, shoot, they both moved the team and scored a lot of points and we’ve got a heck of a hard discussion and conversation ahead as a staff and as an organization,” O’Connell said Saturday night. “Although we didn’t do that, I still think there were some real teachable moments and then some real moments where we’ll be able to evaluate and kind of really look at where we are at that position as we kind of restack everything to go into this week to see how we need to allow those guys to compete.
“Because as we’ve talked about, in my mind the clock is going. Although I feel like our starters are in a great spot for Sept. 11, and that’s where our emphasis is really on, there’s a lot of jobs that we have to still allow to play themselves out so we feel good about the overall depth of our team, and we’ll certainly allow that in practice this week.”
Mullens started 16 games for the San Francisco 49ers from 2018 through 2020, playing in an offense similar to the one O’Connell is installing with the Vikings. He added one start last season for the Cleveland Browns, but he was behind Derek Carr and Jarrett Stidham on the Raiders’ depth chart this summer.
The Vikings overhauled their football operations this offseason, but new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decided to bring back all three of their 2021 quarterbacks for training camp. Cousins signed a contract extension, and Mannion signed a one-year deal. Mond was a second-round pick in the 2021 draft and has not looked ready to take over as a No. 2 quarterback this summer.