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Kellen Mond Closes 1st Preseason with More Progression

Kellen Mond continued his progression Friday night in Kansas City, but it wasn't enough to erase an 18-point halftime deficit in an eventual 28-25 loss to the Chiefs.

The Vikings rookie quarterback showed his dual-threat capabilities by running for a gain of 14 to convert a fourth-and-5 and locking in on several throws late in the game.

The tuck-and-run, which was one of five rushes for 40 yards, immediately preceded a 32-yard touchdown run by A.J. Rose, Jr. The scamper with 9:31 left in the third quarter provided the Vikings first offensive touchdown of the 2021 preseason.

Mond also finished his final drive of the night impressively by completing five consecutive passes for 66 yards. He could have had another — and a touchdown toss to Shane Zylstra — but the tight end was tackled in the end zone to draw a pass interference penalty.

Rose plowed into the end zone from the 1-yard line on the following play, giving him both of Minnesota's offensive touchdowns this preseason.

"I think he improved in all three ball games," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said of Mond. "You know, there was some good and some bad."

The good

Mond completed 16 of 23 passes (69.6 percent) for 196 yards and a passer rating of 77.4.

His average of 8.0 yards per carry also was nice and shows a glimpse of what NFL defenses might have to worry about down the line.

View action photos from the Vikings-Chiefs preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The bad

Mond's second pass of the evening — a deep toss on third-and-6 — was intercepted by Armani Watts and returned 21 yards. The throw ended a drive that began with a holding penalty on Zack Bailey.

He also was assessed a fumble lost after getting hit from his blindside. That play, which occurred on a third-and-20 from the Kansas City 37, ended a drive that included a 16-yard gain on a pass to Chad Beebe and a great sideline catch by K.J. Osborn for 19. The possession derailed with a holding penalty on a run play that started at the 27.

The caveats

The final stat line for Mond was impressive for a half of work and much more encouraging than his first two games. He's continued to catch up after missing 10 days of training camp.

Rookie tight end Zach Davidson was the intended target on the pass that was intercepted. It did not appear that Davidson saw the football.

As for the fumble, it seemed the pressure got there quickly.

Perhaps the best part of all is that Mond didn't seem to flinch from the mistakes that may not have been completely his fault. He wasn't shy to fire passes and showed determination in trying to help the Vikings overcome a 21-3 halftime deficit.

Now what?

Teams must reduce their rosters from a maximum of 80 to 53 by 3 p.m. (CT) Tuesday.

Kirk Cousins is Minnesota's starter, but the Vikings have decisions to make regarding their backup quarterback(s).

After Cousins played just three series and without three Pro Bowl players on offense, he was replaced by Jake Browning for the rest of the first half. Browning completed two of eight passes for 41 yards.

Nate Stanley also is on the roster but did not appear in any preseason games.

Some teams retain three quarterbacks because they don't want any of them nabbed by another team. Others just go with two because the plan is usually for the starter to go every week until run-the-clock if winning big or mop-up duty if losing big.

"We'll look at it tomorrow," Zimmer said. "We'll just look at it and evaluate it."