Vikings' Rick Spielman Says Kirk Cousins 'Is Our QB' After Drafting Kellen Mond

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Al Goldis/Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Kirk Cousins is still "our starting quarterback" after the front office selected Texas A&M signal-caller Kellen Mond in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft on Friday night.

"There's no competition there," Spielman told reporters before being asked whether he alerted Cousins of the pick. "... It's just taking another player. It's like, regardless of position, if we take a player in the third round or first round, I'm not calling a player and saying, 'Hey, we may take this guy here.'"

Cousins is coming off a strong 2020 that saw him complete 67.6 percent of his throws for 4,265 yards with a career-high 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while playing all 16 games.

The 32-year-old Michigan State product is one of just six quarterbacks to post a passer rating above 100 in each of the last two seasons. He's joined by Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr in that select group.

Although his individual numbers are typically strong, team success hasn't always followed. His squads are a combined 51-51-2 in 104 career starts across nine years with Minnesota and the Washington Football Team, and he's 1-2 in three playoff starts.

In February, Cousins told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk he wants to play into at least his late 30s and is hopeful he'll continue with the Vikings for the duration:

"I want to be with the Vikings for as long as they'll have me and as long as I can play football. As far as how long I play, it's so year-to-year. We've seen so much change happen in this league when you just look back a year ago to now. I'm sure a year from now will be no different. Tom Brady, Drew Brees have set the bar so high playing into their early 40s.

"I don't know that I want to play that long, but I do think that to be able to play into your late 30s and to play long enough for my two young boys—I've got two boys, Cooper and Turner. They're only three and almost two—I'd like to play long enough where they can come to practice, watch me play and really remember it and appreciate it. I got a few more years to be able to do that."

Cousins is signed through 2022 as part of a two-year, $66 million contract extension he signed with Minnesota last March.

Meanwhile, Mond is a developmental prospect who made positive strides across four years with the Aggies, highlighted by a completion percentage that increased from 51.5 percent as a freshman to 63.3 percent as a senior.

He's not an imminent threat to Cousins' job as he's still got a lot of work to do in terms of throwing with anticipation into tight windows—the biggest difference between college football and the NFL—and reading defensive assignments to make quicker progressions.

His physical tools are impressive, so it feels like a situation where the Vikings will give him the next two years to see how much he can develop before potentially taking over the offense in 2023 if they move on from Cousins when his deal expires.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.