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Nick Mullens Excited for New Challenge & Opportunity with Vikings

EAGAN, Minn. — In the span of eight days, Nick Mullens went from throwing a touchdown against the Vikings to touching down in Minnesota as the newest member of the team.

The quarterback who had been competing to be Derek Carr's backup in Las Vegas was acquired Monday in a trade for a future conditional draft pick.

He said goodbye to his wife and two young sons, boarded the plane with a pack and arrived Monday evening. He took in the "beautiful Minnesota skyline" from his hotel room at Omni Viking Lakes.

Mullens started reviewing materials during the flight and underwent a physical Tuesday morning. He suited up in a red no-contact No. 12 jersey and purple helmet for practice.

It remains to be seen how much or whether Mullens plays in Minnesota's preseason finale at Denver Saturday.

The Vikings are scheduled to do a closed walk-through on Wednesday and an intrasquad scrimmage Thursday before traveling to Denver Friday.

Beyond a longstanding connection with former Vikings QB Brett Favre built through Mullens breaking Favre's college records at Southern Miss, Mullens also had a previous connection with General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (at the 49ers and Browns) and with current starting QB Kirk Cousins and C Garrett Bradbury, as well as WR Myron Mitchell.

"We crossed paths at a Christian offseason conference for NFL players called PAO (Pro Athletes Outreach)," Mullens said of Cousins. "So we crossed paths there. Got to talk to him. Obviously, a great role model, leader, a very productive quarterback in this league. So it's going to be cool to be around him and other quarterbacks."

Bradbury and Mullens had played golf together in the offseason, and Mitchell and Mullens had worked out together in Birmingham, Alabama.

Cousins and Bradbury sent Mullens texts to welcome him when they learned he was becoming a teammate.

Mullens has appeared in 20 NFL games with 17 starts. He has totaled 4,861 yards with 26 touchdowns against 22 interceptions for a career passer rating of 87.3.

The Vikings saw Mullens up close on Aug. 14 when he went 7-for-9 passing with 94 yards, highlighted by a 34-yard touchdown for the Raiders.

"Anytime you're out there on the field, you're putting your résumé on tape basically," Mullens said. "And I've kind of kept that mindset really through my five years — this will be my sixth year in the NFL — anytime you're playing, anytime in front of people watching, that's an interview, so I've got to take advantage of it when the opportunities come."

Mannion has appeared in 14 total games since entering the NFL in 2015, making three starts. Mond quickly relieved Mannion at Green Bay last season, completing two passes on three attempts for 5 yards.

Mullens is embracing the challenge of learning the Vikings offense and transferring his experience in offenses in San Francisco and Cleveland that have some carryover with the Vikings scheme. He said he's also looking forward to learning under Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, a former NFL backup QB, Offensive Coordinator Wes Phillips and other Vikings coaches.

"It'll be fun to just hear [O'Connell's] process and how he thinks, along with all of the other guys in the room, Wes as well," Mullens said. "So it'll be really exciting to just hear, learn and even from the first practice, so far I can tell it's a very insightful group with a lot of really cool intricacies to this offense."

Phillips spoke after Tuesday's practice and said he had admired Mullens from afar when Phillips was an assistant with the Rams and Mullens was still with the 49ers.

"As I watched more tape, I'm really excited to have him," said Phillips, who also noted he has viewed Mullens as a "great competitor" with a "quick release" and "good feet."

Phillips and the staff will put Mullens through an expedited course for what they expect quarterbacks to be able to do at the line of scrimmage before snaps.

"All those things are going to take a little time. But I'm sure like most quarterbacks who have stuck around this league, he's a good worker and diligent about studying in his off time," Phillips said. "I'm sure he'll pick it up well. And we have great assistant quarterbacks coach, Jerrod Johnson, who already took him alone today and just really started to go from scratch and try to teach him the system."

Mullens said he thinks every opportunity "has its benefits" and he wants to make the most of this one.

"You just kind of be where your feet are, that's what I've always worried about and focused on," Mullens said. "Whatever the opportunity and the task is at hand that's what I'm going to focus on, so I don't enjoy comparing opportunities and things like that. Anytime you step on the field, it's a new opportunity, so that's what I really enjoy most."