When will Kellen Mond make his first start for the Vikings?
By Adam Patrick
Selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, when might quarterback Kellen Mond make his first start in the league?
Of all the players the Minnesota Vikings just added during the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s hard to argue against former Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond being the most intriguing pick made by the team this year.
With the selection of Mond, questions about the future of Kirk Cousins in Minnesota immediately began to pop up. Rightfully so, however, since the Vikings have only earned a trip to the playoffs in one of Cousins’ three seasons with the franchise.
Is Mond going to be the guy who replaces Cousins in Minnesota sooner than later, or will he just be someone who takes over under center in a few years until the team can find a more permanent solution to be their starting signal-caller?
When will Kellen Mond enter the starting lineup for the Minnesota Vikings?
For the upcoming 2021 season, the Vikings have made it extremely clear that Cousins is going to remain the team’s starting quarterback. Beyond that is currently up in the air.
So barring an injury to Cousins, don’t expect Minnesota’s rookie quarterback to make a start under center in 2021.
At the same time, there is also a scenario in which Mond could get a start in the final game of the season if the Vikings are in a position to rest their starters before the 2021 playoffs. Currently, this feels like the only way the rookie gets on the field next season without Cousins missing time due to injury.
Once the 2021 season ends though, who knows what plans Minnesota could have in store for Mond. If the Vikings are interested in transitioning him into being a starter in 2022, they would first have to figure out how to part ways with Cousins.
Releasing Cousins in 2022 isn’t something that would be logical for Minnesota to do based on the terms of his current contract. As of right now, Cutting the veteran quarterback in 2022 would result in $45 million in dead money for the Vikings.
Trading Cousins is likely what Minnesota will attempt to do if they look to move on from him after the 2021 season. Sending him to another team would only result in $10 million in dead money for the Vikings and it would also free up $35 million in cap space.
This is all assuming Cousins doesn’t exceed expectations next season and Minnesota doesn’t give him another extension to lower his 2022 cap hit that is currently sitting at $45 million.
Some might think the Vikings would be fine with just waiting for Cousins to play out the rest of his current deal until moving Mond into the starting lineup. With Cousins’ 2022 cap hit currently being $45 million, that doesn’t seem like something Minnesota would like to do, regardless of how much the salary cap increases next year.
After the 2021 season, the Vikings are likely going to choose between two outcomes. They will either give Cousins a new extension after he has one of the best performances of his career, or they will look to trade him during the 2022 offseason.
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Minnesota letting Cousins play out the rest of his current deal is not a believable scenario. So barring injury or the Vikings resting their starters in the 2021 regular-season finale, there’s a good chance that they could look to make Mond their new starting quarterback before the start of the 2022 season.