EAGAN, Minn. – Brett Favre is a big fan of Nick Mullens.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer who starred at Southern Miss has given major props along the way to Mullens, who shares his alma mater.
"Nick is a great leader, as well as a student of the game," Favre told Vikings.com via text Monday. "High football I.Q. but most important a winner! Look at his track record, and you will see he has won everywhere he has been."
Four years ago, Favre watched Mullens do just that – win – in his pro debut.
Mullens started for the 49ers in Week 6 of the 2018 season after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL tear; he racked up 262 passing yards and threw for three touchdowns with a passer rating of 151.9.
After Mullens led his team to a 34-3 victory over the Raiders, he received a call from Favre while doing an on-field interview with NFL Network.
"Nick, I couldn't be more proud [of] you," Favre told Mullens, whom he had helped train ahead of his college Pro Day. "What a great start. But I'm not surprised at your success. I wish you the best. You know that."
Favre added with a laugh, "He broke all my records. How could I not remember him?"
Mullens totaled 11,994 passing yards and 87 touchdowns at Southern Miss. For reference, Favre totaled 7,695 passing yards and 52 touchdowns in four seasons with the Golden Eagles.
Mullens hasn't only broken collegiate benchmarks, though.
In October 2020, he joined Joe Montana as the only 49ers quarterbacks in franchise history to throw for 220-plus yards in nine straight games.
View photos of QB Nick Mullens who was traded to the Vikings on Aug. 22.
Favre joined SiriusXM NFL Radio at that time and reiterated his confidence in the younger QB.
"I am not surprised at all, just because of his work ethic," Favre said. "The kid can play. That's the bottom line. The kid can play."
Though Mullens hasn't established himself as a full-time starter at the NFL level, he brings 17 games' worth of starting experience to his new team in Minnesota.
The Vikings announced Monday morning they'd acquired the quarterback from the Raiders via trade.
New Head Coach Kevin O'Connell spoke to Twin Cities media members that afternoon and said there's a lot to like about the addition.
"[We added] a guy that's started 17 games and had some real production in some offenses with some [various] similar traits to ours," O'Connell said. "I've always admired Nick from afar, can tell he's a worker, can tell he's a grander, and a very talented, experienced player."
O'Connell credited new General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who spent time with Mullens in San Francisco and in Cleveland, for recognizing the opportunity to bolster the Vikings quarterback room.
Mullens will be "thrown in the mix" with backups Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond behind the sure-fire starter in Kirk Cousins, O'Connell noted.
"I know there were some plays we certainly would have liked to have back from Saturday," O'Connell said in reference to the Vikings loss to the 49ers. "But still a lot of positives coming out of the game for both Sean and Kellen.
"I've asked those guys to continue to progress where they're at within the offensive system and the competition, and we'll be able to sort that out when the time's right," he continued, "but it was a chance to add a really good player, which is why we did it."
O'Connell did not specify if the Vikings plan to keep two or three quarterbacks on their active roster.
While Minnesota's head coach doesn't have an existing relationship with Mullens the way Favre does, O'Connell shares the Hall of Famer's faith in him. O'Connell has a close relationship with Raiders Head Coach Josh McDaniels from their time together in New England. O'Connell and the Vikings saw Mullens firsthand on Aug. 14 at Las Vegas when Mullens was 7-of-9 passing for 94 yards with a 34-yard touchdown (passer rating of 147.2) against Minnesota.
"My confidence level is high in Nick. Knowing the type of people that have coached him there, their thoughts on him, I don't worry one bit about him getting ready to go from the standpoint of knowing our offense and the scheme and what we're going to try to do against Green Bay," O'Connell said. "I think he'll be able to apply his experience. That's why it's important when you do make a move like that it's for somebody that has some game experiences, has taken some real, live snaps to help him acclimate even faster.
"That's why we have Jerrod [Johnson] and Chris O'Hara, Wes Phillips and myself [working with him]," O'Connell added. "We'll do everything we can and use every moment we're allowed to get him ready whenever he gets here."