The Vikings went into Friday’s second round of the NFL draft wanting a quarterback, and they didn’t waste any time.
With their first pick of the night and the No. 66 overall selection in the third round, the Vikings landed Kellen Mond of Texas A&M.
The Vikings entered the draft seeking a backup in 2021 to Kirk Cousins and a quarterback who potentially could be the starter one day. Cousins has two years left on a massive contract, and it’s not certain how long they want to keep spending a good amount of their salary cap on a quarterback.
The Vikings had three other picks Friday in the third round. They took North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt at No. 78, Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis at No. 86 and Pittsburgh defensive end Patrick Jones at No. 90.
There were five quarterbacks taken in the first round on Thursday. The first one off the board Friday was Florida’s Kyle Trask, who went to Tampa Bay at No. 64, the final pick of the second round.
That left the Vikings, with the second pick of the third round, to choose between Mond and Stanford’s Davis Mills. They went with the athletic Mond, and Houston took Mills with the next pick.
“A dream come true since pretty much the age of two years old,” Mond said of entering the NFL. “Getting the call from the Vikings was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. … I look forward to making more memories in Minnesota.”
Cousins’ long-term future in Minnesota remains an issue because of his huge contract. His deal is fully guaranteed with a salary-cap number of $31 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022, and it remains to be seen if the Vikings will want to keep paying such big dollars to Cousins in 2023 and beyond.
For now, Mond is looking forward to learning under Cousins.
“For him to kind of be a mentor and just learn from him, I think it’s going to be amazing to me,” Mond said. “That’s going to be definitely one of the biggest things I’m going to look forward to. One, learning the new playbook, but also learning from Kirk Cousins. … I’m a guy who loves to learn and I’m sure Kirk is going to have so many different tips and tools that he’s learned from being in the league.”
In 47 games at Texas A&M, including 44 starts, Mond completed 801 of 1,358 passes for 9,661 yards with 71 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Mond also rushed 438 times for 1,608 and 22 touchdowns.
“He got better on third down in 2020, and that’s something you wanted to see,” said draft analyst and former Vikings safety Corey Chavous. “He has a narrow frame, but he’s going to grow into it. He’s very meticulous, very detail-oriented. He plays within the offense.”
Mond said he had a meeting at the Senior Bowl with offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak and others on the Vikings. He said Minnesota was “one of the top teams” he expected to be drafted by.
Mond and Davis were taken with the two third-round picks that the Vikings acquired Thursday from the New York Jets, when they traded down from No. 14 to 23 in the first round and took tackle Christian Darrisaw. Surratt and Jones were selected with picks the Vikings had entering the draft.
Surratt was named All-Atlantic Coast Conference in each of the past two seasons while leading the Tar Heels in tackles in each one. Surratt, a team captain as a senior in 2020, said he can play all three linebacker spots.
Davis, the grandson of hall of fame Green Bay defensive tackle Willie Davis, was a first-team All-American in 2020 for the Buckeyes. He played right guard for them but said he can play all positions on the line and could switch to left guard if Minnesota wanted to keep 2020 starting right guard Ezra Cleveland there.
Jones will provide depth at defensive end. He had nine sacks in 2020 for the Panthers.