Scoggins: Mond’s rocky Vikings debut is part of the roller coaster


Kellen Mond was one of the last Vikings players to leave the training ground on Wednesday. The rookie quarterback stayed late to work with two receivers and even appeared to run into a play in his head as he gestured with his hand for a while on his own.

Much to his head coach’s delight, Mond also said he was making a “conscious effort” to speed up his pace when making the attack.

“Sometimes I think too much on the pitch,” Mond said. “I just want to go out and play football. That’s really my whole goal for this game. [Saturday]. “

Mond’s preseason debut against Denver last weekend was a predictable mess, given he had little practice time before after missing 10 days due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Mike Zimmer’s post-game criticism seemed particularly blunt and harsh. Zimmer lamented that Mond was operating in “slow motion”, then gave a cryptic answer when asked why Mond hadn’t been asked to throw more passes and added a tee shot calling his rookie a ” casual guy “.

“It has to come out of its shell a bit,” Zimmer said. “If you’re going to be the quarterback, you’ve got to do these things.”

Commenting on the post-game comment, Mond said: “I don’t necessarily know exactly what he means by that about my personality.”

Two theories to try and figure out Zim’s motive: He was still frustrated that an unvaccinated player missed extended practice time. And it was just a case of a coach sending a harsh message to a rookie quarterback about how things should be done.

“Sometimes I kind of say things to try and help guys,” Zimmer said this week. “They don’t always like it, but so be it.”

Mond’s response to criticism pleased his trainer. Coincidence or not, Zimmer praised Mond for achieving his best practice so far on Monday and noted that he was moving at a faster pace.

There will undoubtedly be more hiccups and hard times to come. This equates to a red shirt season for Mond, a chance to sit and learn behind Kirk Cousins ​​and hone his game on the training ground. But this conversation must remain open.

There is no guarantee that Mond’s grooming period will only last one season. It’s still so early in its development that no one can predict for sure when, or even if, Mond will be ready to take over. The expectations of a quarterback caught in the first round versus the third round are totally different.

“He needs to repeat the training,” said offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak. “He was out for several days with COVID and he just needs the reps. “

Cousins ​​described being a young NFL quarterback as a “long process” and a “roller coaster”. Good days followed by bad days. Progress followed by errors.

“There isn’t a minute he suddenly rocks,” Cousins ​​said. “You keep piling up the days. “

The dilemma the Vikings face right now is that they have two untested young quarterbacks behind Cousins, and they’re running out of days before the season starts.

Jake Browning played so poorly in the preseason opener, which included a pick of six, that he called it a “lost opportunity”.

Cousins ​​has been surprisingly enduring throughout his career as a starter, but it would be unwise to just assume good health in any position. Additionally, concern over COVID will persist if Cousins ​​is not vaccinated.

Does the team really feel comfortable starting a season with Browning or Mond as a backup? After what we saw at the opening of the preseason? With an otherwise veteran team that’s under pressure to advance to the playoffs? Certainly not.

Saturday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts could either help consolidate one of them in the substitute role or force the organization to recruit a veteran with NFL experience ahead of the opener.

Mond’s development still requires a little patience. The roller coaster ride has only just begun.

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