One of the most prominent Vikings rookies has signed his first NFL contract. QB Kellen Mond, the No. 66 overall pick this year out of Texas A&M, put pen to paper on Tuesday, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
Mond gets a four-year deal worth $5.22 million, with a signing bonus of $1.16 million and a $950K salary cap charge in 2021. Just three of the Vikings' 11 draft picks are unsigned: fellow third-rounders Chazz Surratt, Wyatt Davis, and Patrick Jones II.
Mond and a few other rookies reported to rookie minicamp in May and OTAs over the past few weeks despite not having signed their contracts. When rookies do so, they have an injury protection agreement in place.
Mond looked a little shaky out of the gates at rookie minicamp, but it seems as though he has already begun improving while working with the Vikings' coaches. Based on what we saw from him at OTAs, Mond's footwork and release look a little bit more fluid and his confidence appears to be increasing as he continues learning Minnesota's playbook.
So far, Mond has been eased into action by working mostly with the third-team offense, starting out his NFL career behind Kirk Cousins, Jake Browning, and Nate Stanley on the depth chart. However, there's little doubt that Mond is too talented not to beat out Browning and Stanley for the backup job before too long. He'll have to earn it in training camp and the preseason if he wants to hold that position entering the regular season, but I would be surprised if that doesn't happen.
Mond won't see meaningful snaps in 2021 unless Cousins gets hurt, but he could push for the job as early as 2022 if he develops quickly. In that scenario, the Vikings could look for a trade partner willing to take on Cousins' fully guaranteed $35 million base salary for 2022. The more likely outcome is that Mond gets a shot to compete for the job in 2023 with Cousins gone, or — if he doesn't progress like the Vikings hope — remains the backup to Cousins or someone else for the duration of his rookie deal.
Regardless, the Vikings have an intriguing developmental backup QB for the first time since Cousins arrived in 2018. It'll be very interesting to watch Mond in camp and in preseason games this year.
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