Thursday, January 27, 2022

Mike Zimmer gives cold answer on not playing Kellen Mond after Vikings were eliminated from playoffs

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The Minnesota Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs after Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, the third time in four years the franchise has failed to reach the postseason. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s fate is hanging in the balance, although another failure to reach the postseason may have already determined his job with the Vikings.

With one game to play against the Chicago Bears, there’s nothing to play for in Minnesota. The Vikings can’t finish with a winning record and are eliminated from the postseason. This would be a perfect opportunity to play rookie third-round quarterback Kellen Mond right? 

A frustrated Zimmer clearly isn’t making that a possibility. 

“Not particularly,” Zimmer said when asked if he wants to take a look at Mond next week. “I see him every day.”

Mond did get in Sunday’s loss to the Packers, completing 2 of 3 passes for five yards in the fourth quarter replacing an injured Sean Mannion. Mond almost threw an interception on the possession which the Vikings went three-and-out. Zimmer replaced Mond with Mannion on the next series. 

Mond not getting the start in a must-win game for the Vikings was telling of what Zimmer thought of him prior to his comments after the game. He chose to play Mannion, a journeyman backup who threw just 74 passes in seven seasons, over a third-round pick. Mannion finished 22 of 36 for 189 yards with a touchdown in his third career start. 

Mannion started in place of Kirk Cousins, who was under COVID-19 protocols and had to miss the game. Zimmer said he “didn’t want to talk about next week” when asked if Cousins would start if he cleared COVID protocols. 

Zimmer clearly isn’t thinking about the future of the Vikings, nor does he feel like Mond deserves an opportunity to start in a meaningless finale. Whether Mond impresses or stinks up the joint, Cousins has a cap number of $45 million next year — and the Vikings save nothing in salary cap space if they release him. 

Playing Mond may not be worth much for Zimmer, but Minnesota invested a third-round pick on him. Sooner or later, the organization will have to determine if Mond can play the position.  

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