Kellen Mond didn’t have to wait long to hear from Kirk Cousins.
Shortly after Mond was selected two weeks ago by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the NFL draft, he got a call from Cousins, their starting quarterback the past three years. Mond will compete to be the backup in 2021 and there is plenty of speculation already that he could succeed Cousins as the starter when the current quarterback’s huge contract expires after the 2022 season.
“He was just congratulating me and telling me he couldn’t wait to work with me,” Mond said after Friday’s first day of a three-day rookie minicamp about the call. “I said the same. When I got drafted, I knew what type of opportunity it was for me to be able to learn from a veteran, a guy who has been in multiple systems.”
Mond, taken with the No. 66 overall pick out of Texas A&M, could meet Cousins in person as soon as Monday. That’s when many Minnesota veterans are expected to show up at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan for offseason drills after the first month of the program included only virtual meetings.
“I’m assuming (Cousins will) be here,” Mond said.
On Friday, Mond worked out alongside quarterbacks Jake Browning, who spent the past two years on the practice squad, and Nate Stanley, who spent last season on it. The three will battle for the backup job.
“Just being able to have Nate and Jake out there with me tremendously helps,” Mond said of learning Minnesota’s system.
When Mond takes the field over the next month with Cousins for organized team activities and a mandatory minicamp, that’s when he’s expected to really get an education. Mond said he already has “watched a ton of film” on the nine-year veteran since he was selected April 30 in the draft.
“Pretty quick after I got drafted, I got my iPad,” Mond said. “So I’ve already watched all the 2020 games and really watched them multiple times. Some plays are a little more advanced that I haven’t necessarily got to. We’re still on a lot of the base stuff but there’s still a lot of information.”
Mond said he’s been intrigued watching Cousins’ “execution, his footwork” and “how he’s able to go through reads.” Mond said he’s focusing on “learning the progressions and being able to tie my feet together” on them.
Cousins is under contract for the Vikings with salary-cap numbers of $31 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022, and it remains to be seen if they’ll want to keep paying him huge dollars in 2023. Mond is in line to sign a four-year, $5.22 million contract that includes a $1.16 million signing bonus.
The Vikings had five of their 11 draft picks sign deals before Friday’s practice, including tackle Christian Darrisaw, taken with the No. 23 pick in the first round. The other six draftees, including Mond, are participating under injury protection agreements until they are under contract.
“Just standard negotiations,” Mond said about having not yet signed. “That’s something my agent is taking up. I’m just out there focusing on football.”
Mond said there’s been “a lot thrown at my plate” so far. Friday’s workout, which lasted a little more than an hour, didn’t include any 11-on-11 drills but there was some seven-on-seven work.
“Kellen Mond looks great,” Darrisaw said. “I really don’t get to watch him too much because I’m blocking for him, but when I’m watching him, peeking over there, he’s made some great throws.”
Darrisaw met Mond for the first time this week, and said they’ve had “small talk.” He will have plenty of time this spring to get to know Mond, and so will Cousins.
“It will be really good to also see him in person, just being able to communicate with him being a mentor, essentially, and learn from him,” Mond said.