Minnesota Vikings get Kellen Mond in 3rd round of NFL draft; GM says Kirk Cousins is starter

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings have a potential succession plan for the post-Kirk Cousins era after drafting Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday night, but general manager Rick Spielman made clear that Cousins' job is not in question for 2021.

"Kirk's our starting quarterback," Spielman said. "There's no competition there. It's just taking another player. It's like, regardless of position, if we take a player in the third round or first round, I'm not calling a player and saying, 'Hey, we may take this guy here.' Our job is to get as many good players in here and let them all come in and compete."

Mond, 21, was selected with the 66th overall pick and was the second of three quarterbacks taken within a four-pick span. He's the first quarterback ever taken by the Vikings in the third round and the highest drafted since Teddy Bridgewater was selected 32nd overall in 2014.

Mond finished his career at Texas A&M as the all-time career leader in passing yards (9,661), passing touchdowns (71) and total offense (11,269). His 93 touchdowns responsible for are tied with former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel for the most in school history.

Cousins, 32, has been the Vikings' starting quarterback since 2018 and is under contract for the next two seasons. His base salaries jump from $21 million in 2021 to $35 million in 2022, the latter of which comes with a $45 million cap hit.

Minnesota gave Cousins a two-year, $66 million extension months after he led the Vikings to a playoff win in the wild-card round against New Orleans in January 2020. That playoff win was the first of Cousins' career.

Cousins' former backup, Sean Mannion, has not re-signed with the Vikings since becoming a free agent last month, and it's possible Mond assumes that role in 2021. Spielman said the timing of adding another quarterback with Cousins' long-term future up in the air was based on the team's ability to take one of the top players available when they were on the clock early in the third round.

"It gave us an opportunity to get quarterback -- a young quarterback -- to come in here," Spielman said. "We wanted to add competition and depth behind Kirk, and Kellen is going to come in here and compete with the other young guys (Jake Browning and Nate Stanley) that we have on the roster."

Mond, who played in two offensive systems in College Station, first under Kevin Sumlin in an Air-Raid attack and later in Jimbo Fisher's pro-style offense, said he looks forward to learning how to master an NFL playbook from his new veteran teammate.

"Obviously, I've never played in the NFL so I think going in and being able to grab some information from a guy who has played with different teams and has played against the best guys in the whole entire world, I think that's going to be huge for me and just for him to kind of be a mentor and learn from him, I think it's going to be amazing for me," Mond said. "That's going to be definitely one of the biggest things I look for too: one, learning the new playbook, but also just being able to learn from Kirk Cousins. It's going to be amazing."

The Vikings spent ample time with Mond in January at the Reese's Senior Bowl, where he was named MVP of game. The former No. 1 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the county in 2017 possesses a different skill-set than Cousins, something that piqued the Vikings' interest in creating competition.

"I know with all our boot-action and play-action passes that a quarterback with some mobility that can move and make plays outside the pocket is something we wanted to look at, too," Spielman said. "He has a little different skill-set than Kirk, but I know just talking with our offensive coaches that we feel that the mobility part of things may add some value to him as a quarterback and to this system."