Rookie quarterback Kellen Mond threw just four passes in 11-on-11 drills during Wednesday's practice — the second Organized Team Activity session open to reporters this spring — as he so far takes a back seat to quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Nate Stanley, and Jake Browning.
Mond's third throw in team drills reflected the sloppy day that was for the Vikings passing game in a non-padded practice that generally makes for good throwing conditions. It was a well-placed deep ball over the shoulder of rookie receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, but it was bobbled multiple times along the sideline. What should've been a catch ended as an interception by second-year safety Josh Metellus.
"Kellen has done a good job," head coach Mike Zimmer said before Wednesday's practice. "He's hanging in there mentally with everything. The coaches are working all the time with him, continually working. He's still got a long way to go."
Mond got extra work in with receivers after practice, targeting receivers in the end zone from about 15 yards away under the watch of quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko. Here are some more observations from Vikings OTA No. 5 (the second open to media).
-The Vikings had 83 of 87 players in attendance, missing defensive end Danielle Hunter, cornerbacks Jeff Gladney and Patrick Peterson (personal), and linebacker Chazz Surratt. Rookie tackle Christian Darrisaw (groin) watched from the sideline. Linebacker Eric Kendricks ran through position drills, but rehabbed on a side field during team sessions; his 2020 season ended with a calf injury. Cornerback Cameron Dantzler watched team drills with a wrap on his upper right leg.
-Without Darrisaw, third-year tackle Oli Udoh moved to the left side with the second-team offense. Second-year linebacker Troy Dye replaced Kendricks in team drills. At cornerback, the Vikings had Harrison Hand and Kris Boyd on the outsides with Mackensie Alexander in the slot.
-Cousins threw some strikes, at one point completing four straight throws in team drills before leading receiver Adam Thielen too much on a slant that ended in an Alexander interception. It was Cousins' second pick after Hand intercepted him in 7-on-7 passing drills by stepping in front of receiver Justin Jefferson. Browning had the other interception, picked off by linebacker Ryan Connelly during passing drills.
-The offense had about 15 red-zone plays in full team drills and came away with just one passing touchdown, when Browning found receiver K.J. Osborn in the corner.
-Running backs and tight ends remained heavily involved in the passing game with check downs and screens. Running back Ameer Abdullah drew cheers from teammates with a wicked juke on Boyd after catching a pass in the flat.
-Hand, the 2020 fifth-round pick out of Temple, is also getting slot work during position drills as he shadowed Alexander early in practice. The Vikings need options while corner Jeff Gladney has been away from the team after turning himself into Dallas County police in April on an alleged felony domestic assault. He's yet to be formally charged.
-Kickers Greg Joseph and Riley Patterson each got three field goal attempts during team drills; Joseph converted all three while Patterson missed the longest attempt from about 40-50 yards (reporters are kept at a distance and not allowed on the sideline as the NFL still operates under COVID-restricted media policies).