Future QB: Vikings pick Texas A&M's Kellen Mond in 3rd round

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings drafted Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond on Friday night, finding a potential successor to Kirk Cousins with their first of four third-round picks.

Mond was the No. 66 overall pick, the seventh quarterback off the board after five went in the first 15 selections. Florida's Kyle Trask went two spots ahead of Mond, who was a four-year starter for the Aggies and has the ability to be the type of dual-threat player that's all the rage now for his position in the NFL.

The Vikings entered the draft without a second-rounder, due to the trade with Jacksonville that fetched defensive end Yannick Ngakoue near the end of training camp. They flipped him after six games to Baltimore but got only a late third-rounder (No. 90 overall) to cover their losses.

General manager Rick Spielman stayed true to form, though, moving down nine spots in the first round to net two additional third-round picks (Nos. 66 and 86) in a swap with the New York Jets. Their own selection (No. 78) gave them yet another asset to try to jump up into the second round for a higher-rated prospect, but they didn't bite.

Mond, the MVP award winner of the Senior Bowl after leading Texas A&M to a 9-1 finish in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, is the highest-drafted quarterback by the Vikings since Christian Ponder was their first-round pick in 2011.

The Vikings filled one of their most pressing needs in the first round after the trade with the Jets by picking Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw, who will slide in at left tackle.

Darrisaw arrived at team headquarters on Friday for the standard meet-and-greet, one of the pre-pandemic customs being reintroduced as teams around the league take baby steps back toward normal operations.

With his long-armed, 6-foot-5, 322-pound frame and an athleticism to handle NFL-caliber speed on the edge, Darrisaw ought to give Cousins — and, someday, Mond — more confidence to deliver those critical passes from the pocket. Darrisaw didn't allow a sack in 2020, his junior year for the Hokies.

“I just take pride in keeping the quarterback clean. I had the mindset that the quarterback’s not going to get touched my way, and if that happens, then usually a big play will happen,” Darrisaw said. “Blocking the blind side, you’ve got to get the play started first. So just having that mindset that you don’t want that quarterback to get touched or anything like that, I feel like I’ll be dominant versus whoever I go against.”

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Dave Campbell, The Associated Press