The Minnesota Vikings have the apparent successor to Kirk Cousins, evidenced by selecting Kellen Mond at the top of the third round of last month's NFL Draft. Mond doesn't have to come in and win the job immediately, but there's a strong possibility he could be the Vikings' quarterback in 2022 based on the way Cousins' contract is structured.
Mond's rookie season is likely a developmental one, so he's set to learn from one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league -- the man he could replace in a season.
"Being able to watch Kirk on certain cutups … [I'm] really enjoy watching his execution, his footwork, just watching how he's able to go through reads and pretty much master the offense," Mond said during Vikings minicamp Friday, via the Vikings website.
"The more I watch him, the more I'm able to mimic his footwork, his cadence, which is huge in the NFL. There's so many things I need to learn, but I feel like I'm in a phenomenal organization with phenomenal talent and obviously can't wait to get to work with Kirk also."
Cousins hasn't done anything to warrant losing his job in Minnesota, but the Vikings have certainly carved out a succession plan. Over the last three years, Cousins is second in the NFL in completion percentage, fifth in touchdown passes, and seventh in passer rating -- but Minnesota doesn't owe Cousins any guaranteed money in 2022 and can save $45 million in salary cap space by terminating his contract.
While Cousins' future as a NFL quarterback may be elsewhere, he'll do everything he can to help Mond in his rookie season. Both are competitors, but they want to see the Vikings win when all is said and done.
"[Kirk] was just congratulating me and telling me he couldn't wait to work with me. I said the same," Mond said when he and Cousins talked after the draft. "When I got drafted, I knew what type of opportunity it was for me to be able to learn from a veteran, a guy who has been in multiple systems and been under center, playing in a great offense.
"Just be able to learn how he's able to lead when he gets out here with J.J. (Justin Jefferson), Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook. Just watching how [Kirk is] able to communicate and really just learn. Just him being a mentor and being able to watch him, that's what I'm excited for."