The Minnesota Vikings stayed the course at the quarterback position despite head coach and general manager changes.
Kirk Cousins agreed to a contract extension through 2023, while the Vikings also re-signed his backup and Sean Mannion this offseason. The new regime hadn’t brought any new arms onto the roster despite skepticism surrounding the team’s future at quarterback from Cousins down to 2021 third-round pick Kellen Mond toward the end of the 2021 season.
That changed at the start of rookie minicamps on Friday.
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Brett Hundley Tryout at Rookie Minicamps
On Friday, former Packers quarterback Brett Hundley was brought in to help facilitate the first day of rookie minicamps, along with former University of Washington quarterback Patrick O’Brien.
A 2015 fifth-round pick by Green Bay, Hundley started in nine games for the Packers in 2017 after Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending collarbone injury. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks the next offseason and has bounced around the league, making stops with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts training camps. His last game played was with the Cardinals in 2019.
While Hundley, 28, has been a camp body the past two seasons, O’Connell said he’s been “intrigued” by the former Packers quarterback.
“I spent a lot of time on (Hundley) coming out of the draft (in 2015),” O’Connell said in a May 13 press conference. “I’ve always been intrigued by him as a quarterback in this league. He’s kind of bounced around, been in some spots, been coached up well, you can tell in the meeting room.”
O’Connell encouraged O’Brien and Hundley to compete like there is a potential spot on the line.
“That’s why the tryout guys are here,” O’Connell said. “They’re here for a reason. That’s what I told them. Compete and we’ll see how everything shakes out.”
The Vikings currently have Cousins, Mannion, Mond and 2020 seventh-round pick Nate Stanley on their roster and could look to add more arms once full minicamps begin on May 17.
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O’Connell’s Fresh Perspective on Rookie Camps
O’Connell’s first practice as a head coach has already strayed from the conventional programs of many teams in the NFL.
The former Los Angeles Rams coordinator put just 42 players on the field for last Friday’s first day of rookie minicamps. His goal was to have more of a passing camp with an emphasis on skill players and defensive backs instead of trying to evaluate linemen who are practicing without pads during OTAs.
“We tried to keep the numbers a little bit lower than to have the traditional 70, 80 guys when we’d have some team drills and the ball’s on the ground a bunch, players are on the ground a bunch,” O’Connell said. “What we’re doing is those competitive 7-on-7s and kind of turning it into a pseudo passing camp, just to make sure we can get quality reps, we can install some things, and then try to really evaluate guys on both sides of the ball when the ball’s in the air.
“Those big guys, we’ll try to incorporate something tomorrow within the rules where we can get those guys at least lining up across from one another,” O’Connell added. Really what we’re trying to do is just acclimate these guys overall — where to go in the meetings, where to go in the building, where to eat lunch.”