Out for 10 days during training camp due to testing positive for COVID-19 last summer, Mond had little time to prepare for the preseason opener against the Denver Broncos — a game that Mike Zimmer said he looked like he was operating in “slow motion” and urged him to not be such a “laid-back guy.”
After a Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers that eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention, Zimmer did not concede any chance of giving Mond the start in a meaningless Week 17 game.
The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!
Q: Do you think you want to get a look at Mond next week?
Zimmer: Not particularly.
Q: Mike, why don’t you want to get a look at him.
Zimmer: I see him every day (in practice).
It’s safe to say Zimmer, under the crunch of delivering a postseason appearance, had more important matters to consider than the development of the franchise’s most valuable pick at quarterback since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.
But under a new regime including head coach Kevin O’Connell in his corner, Mond is entering his second year in the league hoping to build off his rookie season with an evolved quarterbacks room helmed by O’Connell.
‘I’m Not Really Worried About Competition’
Speaking to local media on the second day of voluntary OTAs on May 17, Mond described the difference between having extra time to learn systems versus flying into Minnesota blind before rookie minicamps last year.
“I think just having these first five weeks (with veterans) has been tremendous,” Mond said. “There’s a lot of carryover with the offense. Slightly different philosophy and certain things that I have to change mentally and you know coming on the field and attacking certain progressions. I think I’ve done a really good job these first five weeks and I’m only hoping to continue to build.”
Asked about how much of a clean slate this season is, Mond deferred that he’s taking his development day by day and isn’t worried about past reputation and competition in camp.
“I’m just out here having fun, and I’m just looking to get better every day. I do certain things good and I’m able to come to the side and talk to Kevin,” Mond said. “There’s always certain things I could do slightly better and I evaluate the tape and try to get better every day. I’m not really worried about competition if I handle myself, play the best I can, things will work itself out.”
Mond will look to elevate himself on the depth chart after losing the QB2 spot to Sean Mannion last season.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!
Kevin O’Connell on Mond
O’Connell has addressed Mond’s role on the team several times this offseason throughout the onboarding process of the new regime.
After OTAs on May 17, O’Connell praised Mond for making an “instinctive” check during workouts.
“Kellen’s having a good spring so far — working incredibly hard digesting the system,” O’Connell said in a May 18 press conference. “He made a couple of checks at the line of scrimmage that he wasn’t prepared for. He just instinctively did that. Those are the little things you look for.”
O’Connell also called Mond a “naturally accurate passer” earlier in the offseason, putting the Texas A&M product to the task of
“I always thought he was really successful in college. Succesful from the pocket, creating off schedule, he’s got some real athleticism, and I think he’s a naturally accurate passer,” O’Connell said. “What that will look like in our offense, that’s really up to Kellen and the rest of our guys to make it go. I’m just excited to get on the grass with him. He;’s been great in the meeting rooms early on, you feel some leadership from him. You feel some early ownership.”