March 5, 2021; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond attends the House of Athlete Scouting Combine for athletes preparing to compete in the 2021 NFL Draft at Inter Miami Stadium Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings are deepening their OTAs. It’s the time of year when the players learn the new scheme and the coaches learn what the players are good at. Essentially, it’s a time of exploration to see who has it and who doesn’t.
One of the biggest questions many fans have is, where is the development of Kellen Mond? This is a crucial question. Many fans have been ready to leave Kirk Cousins since he signed his fully guaranteed contract in 2018.
This makes Kellen Mond’s development all the more critical. From this point on, he is the only ray of hope that the Kirk Cousins era is coming to an end. However, that only happens if Mond improves, and he needs to improve… a ground.
Fortunately, the new offensive coaching staff is more keen to work with the youngster than Mike Zimmer. There was a theory that Zimmer hated rookies. This theory almost implies that he sabotaged the development of players like Mond.
While that’s a pretty crazy theory, it’s not far off. Although Zimmer wanted to put the team in the best position to win, and if that meant not throwing a guy like Mond, then that’s what he was going to do. But now Mond has Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips on his side, and it’s time to get to work.
What does Kellen Mond need to improve the most?
When it comes to developing any quarterback in the NFL, the first thing they need to do is adapt to the speed of the NFL. Additionally, throwing time becomes shorter, windows for throwing the ball get tighter, and defensive patterns become harder to read.
In college, a quarterback will have 3 to 4 seconds to throw the ball. Well, in the NFL, it’s going to get tighter. An NFL quarterback will need to read and throw the ball in about 2.5 seconds. It’s incredibly fast.
Last year during pre-season we saw Mond play. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to get the readings fast enough or the correct reading. This could be solved by simplified play calls. However, the cast time is still lightning fast. He will have to make significant improvements here.
However, Mond’s biggest weakness is his accuracy. He has all the arm strength you want in a quarterback, but he doesn’t hit his target as well as you’d hope. It’s a critical issue, primarily because NFL windows are so small.
On the bright side, Wes Phillips was quick to praise him during OTAs, as Chris Tomasson reported:
This should be music to everyone’s ears. Hopefully Mond improves enough to earn the backup role. Maybe he’s even improving to the point that the Vikings feel comfortable leaving Cousins sooner rather than later.
However, being sharp in drills is very different from being sharp in the game. Only time will tell if Mond can improve enough. We should learn a lot more once pre-season kicks off.
Mitch Massman has been a lifelong Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC Championship Game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3