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Kellen Mond’s strong preseason outing for Vikings draws special audience: his family

The second-year quarterback out of Texas A&M looked good in Minnesota’s preseason opener, completing 9 of 14 passes for 119 yards and the two touchdowns. He had a sparkling passer rating of 130.7.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond throws the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports
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LAS VEGAS — When Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond threw his first NFL preseason touchdown pass on Sunday, 13 members of his family had a close view.

Mond’s father, Kevin, and his mother, Leticia, were seated along with other relatives at the 10-yard line, about 20 rows up at Allegiant Stadium, when Mond hit Albert Wilson on a 2-yard slant in the third quarter of the Vikings’ 26-20 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. In the fourth quarter, they watched Mond hit Wilson with another touchdown pass, this one covering 20 yards. Unfortunately, that one happened on the other side of the field.

The second-year quarterback out of Texas A&M looked good in Minnesota’s preseason opener, completing 9 of 14 passes for 119 yards and the two touchdowns. He had a sparkling passer rating of 130.7.

“It was exciting,” Kevin Mond said Monday. “We’re really, really happy for him. I think we’ll only see him get better. He just needs reps.”

Mond missed 10 days during training camp last year as a rookie while on the COVID-19 reserve list, and has said he lost about 10 pounds and lot of strength and never fully recovered during the season. In 2021, he looked shaky in three preseason games and in his only three snaps of the regular season, which came in Week 17 at Green Bay.

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Mond was mostly an afterthought as the third-string quarterback in 2021 behind starter Kirk Cousins and top backup Sean Mannion under former head coach Mike Zimmer. But new coach Kevin O’Connell has vowed to give him a long look this time in the battle with Mannion to be the backup.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond carries the ball Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022 in a preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports

With Cousins sitting out against the Raiders after testing positive for COVID, Mannion got the start Sunday and played 25 snaps to 26 for Mond. Mannion completed 8 of 12 passes for 79 yards and a passer rating of 85.1 and didn’t lead the Vikings to a touchdown in his four series.

During the weekend, Mond’s family members saw him for about 45 minutes at the team hotel Saturday night in Las Vegas and for about 20 minutes after the game. Mond’s father said his son was upbeat after his showing against the Raiders.

“He’s happy,” Kevin Mond said. “He’s proud of himself, I will say that. Not to be conceited, but he knows he did well. …. He knows he can play. … But he knows what he needs to do (moving forward).”

Speaking with reporters after the game, Mond said he was mostly pleased with his performance but that there is still much work to do. This week, the Vikings will have joint practices with the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday and Thursday and then face the 49ers in a preseason game at 6 p.m. Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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“(I’ve) got to continue to stack days,” Mond said. “I’ve got to come back this week and figure out how I can continue to get better, and that’s kind of my main focus.”

After a first half in which he completed just 2 of 5 passes for 24 yards and missed an open Trishton Jackson on a throw into the end zone, Mond was much better in the second half. He said it was a matter of settling down and feeling more comfortable.

“It’s just getting into a rhythm,” O’Connell said.

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O’Connell and Mond agreed the play that turned things around was a 22-yard strike to Dan Chisena down the left side on fourth-and-5 midway through the third quarter. That led to the first touchdown pass to Wilson, when he rifled the ball into the hands of the veteran receiver.

“The one thing I told him is really after what you saw on that fourth-down conversion to Dan, that was the decisiveness,” O’Connell said. “His first progression was taken away, quiet in the pocket, just progressed in rhythm and threw an absolute beautiful ball to Dan.”

O’Connell said Mond showed continued “growth” on a fourth-quarter drive that led to the 20-yard touchdown pass to Wilson on the right side of the end zone with 3:44 left in the game. Key passes before the TD were strikes of 21 and 16 yards to Myron Mitchell and 16 yards to rookie Jalen Nailor.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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