EAGAN, Minn. — Nick Mullens is returning to the Vikings.
The quarterback, who was acquired from Las Vegas via trade by Minnesota last August, and the Vikings agreed to terms on a deal Tuesday, one day before 2023 free agency opened.
Mullens backed up Kirk Cousins in 2022 and appeared in four games for the Vikings last season. He completed 21 of 25 passes (84.0 percent) for 224 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 100.7 in limited action.
The Vikings had gotten an up-close look at Mullens in their preseason opener against the Raiders on Aug. 14 before sending a 2024 seventh-round pick to Las Vegas in exchange for Mullens on Aug. 22.
View photos of Vikings QB Nick Mullens who the team agreed to terms with on March 14.
Mullens replaced Jarrett Stidham in the exhibition contest and went 7-of-9 passing for 94 yards, highlighted by a 34-yard touchdown toss in the exhibition. He also played in the next Raiders preseason game on Aug. 20, going 6-for-9 with 39 yards against the Dolphins before soon boarding a plane to Minnesota.
Mullens, who played collegiately at Southern Miss, has appeared in 24 career games with the 49ers (19 from 2018-20), Browns (one in 2021) and Vikings. He has 5,085 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. His career passer rating is 88.0.
Beyond being ready if needed, Mullens played the support role for Cousins, helping him through meetings and memorization of the Vikings offense. Instead of using a wristband for play calls, Cousins receives the message directly from Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and relays the verbiage to teammates.
Cousins credited Mullens with teaching him a memorization technique.
"I was really struggling late in August and early September of really getting to a place where I could spit the plays out with just total ownership," Cousins said in November. "He said, 'What I do' — because he's been in a couple systems where he's had to learn quickly, especially this year with such little time between the trade and Week 1 — 'I'll just record the tricky plays on my phone and instead of listening to music or the radio on the drive time to and from work, I'll just listen to the play calls.'
"I started doing that and my drives are a little more boring, but I find myself getting home to the garage and I feel a little better about the game plan and my command of the game plan," Cousins said. "That's been a good trick I picked up from Nick, and those are the kinds of little things that can happen in the quarterbacks room that can make a meaningful difference in your season and in your process."
Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips said he was "not surprised that's what Nick Mullens is doing on his drives home."
"I'm probably listening to some music or a podcast when I get out of this office, but it doesn't surprise me at all," Phillips added.