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Kellen Mond eligible to return on Tuesday but rookie quarterback is way behind schedule

NFL: Minnesota Vikings OTA
Jun 9, 2021; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond (11) participates in drills at OTA at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kellen Mond appeared to enter training camp as the Vikings’ third quarterback behind Kirk Cousins and Jake Browning, but the third-round pick’s position on the depth chart wasn’t nearly as important as the experience the rookie was set to get each day on and off the field.

Only that hasn’t happened.

Mond has been sidelined since testing positive for COVID-19 on July 31 after only three days of full-team practice. Mond’s positive test — there were initial reports that he had a breakthrough case, but it turned out he wasn’t vaccinated — is what caused the non-vaccinated Cousins and Nate Stanley to have to go into a five-day quarantine. Both were considered to be high-risk close contacts. Only Jake Browning remained eligible to practice because vaccinated players are not required to quarantine as a result of close contact with a person who has COVID-19.

Mond had to isolate for 10 days under the NFL’s rules, meaning he is eligible to return on Tuesday. But that will depend on whether he is now asymptomatic. Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak said last week that Mond was sick so it remains to be seen how quickly he can return after battling the virus.

Mond, who played college football at Texas A&M, almost certainly will make the Vikings’ 53-man roster but any hope he had of attempting to push Browning for the backup job is likely gone.

What was expected to be a productive redshirt year for Cousins’ potential replacement, isn’t going nearly as smoothly as hoped and getting Mond into Saturday’s preseason opener against Denver might be a long shot.

Mond’s return from the COVID-19 reserve list also will force the Vikings to make a roster move and it will be interesting to see whether they cut Stanley or newcomer Danny Etling to make room for Mond. Etling, a fourth-year quarterback from Purdue and then LSU, was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks when Cousins, Mond and Stanley were all sidelined. Etling was waived by Seattle in order to make room for former Vikings backup Sean Mannion.