Quarterback Kellen Mond will play next season for the Minnesota Vikings, 1,250 miles north of his hometown of San Antonio. For an instant, though, it looked as if he might have stayed in his native Texas.
Mond was drafted out of Texas A&M with the No. 66 pick in the third round by the Vikings on April 30, the second day of the NFL draft. They apparently snatched him away from the Houston Texans, who had the No. 67 selection.
“(There was a) phone call from his agent, text message, and the agent said, ‘Hey, the Houston Texans are getting ready to select (Mond) at pick 67,’ ” Mond’s father, Kevin, said. “So, we’re sitting (at the San Antonio family home) on the couch and (Mond) gets the phone call a couple of minutes later and it’s a team.
“Then, when he hung up the phone, he goes, ‘I’m going to the Vikings.’ The Texans had already told his agent they’re getting ready to take him at pick 67. The Vikings happened to have the pick 66.”
Houston wound up choosing Stanford quarterback Davis Mills with the next pick.
“It wasn’t supposed to be Mills,” Kevin Mond said. “It was going to be Kellen.”
Mond is expected to back up to Kirk Cousins this fall. Had he gone to the Texans, he might have found himself in the mix to start as a rookie considering the uncertain future of Deshaun Watson, who is facing 22 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. Watson has denied the accusations.
Nevertheless, Kevin Mond said his son is pleased he instead ended up with the Vikings.
“I think he’s comfortable and he likes the decision,” Mond’s father said. “He’s thrilled about being in Minnesota. … In Houston, he might be rushed into it. (He can) sit back and watch and learn. But he’s a fast learner.”
Kevin Mond said his son has no issues with playing far from home after it had looked as if he might stay in Texas. Houston is about 200 miles from San Antonio, and about 100 from Texas A&M in College Station.
“He wanted to get away,” the senior Mond said. “He wanted to start his own life, his own career and get away and do things away from family and Texas, and A&M is right down the highway. He just wants to start his own journey, and I think that’s good.”
“You work with the hand you’re dealt,’’ he continued. “If that’s the hand you’re dealt, you go and you work and you work to get better and you’ve got to do that no matter where you’re at. He’s got to do that in Minnesota, so he would have handled (going to Houston) fine.”
For now, Mond is busy getting acclimated in Minnesota. He took part Tuesday in the seventh practice of organized team activities, which will conclude Friday. The Vikings on June 15-17 will complete spring drills with a mandatory minicamp.
“Kellen has done a good job,” head coach Mike Zimmer said last week. “He’s hanging in there mentally with everything. The coaches are working all the time with him, continually working. He’s still got a long way to go. But as far as the mental aspect of things, he’s hanging in there pretty good.”