Vikings Place Nick Mullens On IR, Bring Back Sean Mannion; Kene Nwangwu Designated For Return

In addition to making the Justin Jefferson IR move official, the Vikings made a few more notable transactions Wednesday. The team now has a familiar face back in the quarterback room.

Sean Mannion is returning on a practice squad deal, the team announced. Kirk Cousins‘ on-again, off-again backup spent last season on the Seahawks’ practice squad but has not been with a team since January. The team also moved Cousins’ current backup, Nick Mullens, to IR.

Mullens is battling a back injury, one that kept him from dressing in Week 5. The former 49ers spot starter has been with the Vikings for the past two seasons, arriving as an August 2022 trade acquisition and backing up Cousins last season. Minnesota re-signed the seventh-year veteran to a two-year, $4MM contract in March. This move will drop Mullens off the 53-man roster for at least four weeks.

Mannion, 31, spent the better part of three seasons with the Vikings. Initially signing with Minnesota after his Rams rookie contract expired in 2019, Mannion operated as Cousins’ backup from 2019-20. While Mannion signed with the Seahawks in August 2021, he ended up back in place as Cousins’ top reserve — over third-rounder Kellen Mond, who quickly wore out his welcome with the team — soon after. The Vikings released Mannion in August 2022, going with Mullens after the Browns trade.

These transactions leave Cousins and fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall as the only QBs on Minnesota’s 53-man roster. Mannion would make sense as an elevation for Week 6, seeing as he has spent extensive time in this role. That said, Mannion was Minnesota’s QB2 before Kevin O’Connell‘s arrival. The ex-Jared Goff St. Louis/Los Angeles QB2 did play under former O’Connell Rams coworker Shane Waldron in Seattle. This is basically a moot point, as Cousins as not missed a game due to injury in his six Vikings seasons.

The Vikings also designated running back/kick returner Kene Nwangwu for return from IR. Nwangwu hit IR shortly after cutdown day. The third-year back has been Minnesota’s kick returner for the past two seasons. The Iowa State product already has three kick-return touchdowns since debuting; he finished as a second-team All-Pro last season. Only one other player — Nyheim Hines — has more than one kick-return TD since 2021, highlighting the upgrade the Vikes’ special teams could receive once Nwangwu is activated. The Vikings, who have not used any IR activations this season, have three weeks to activate the 25-year-old specialist.

To wrap this brigade of Wednesday Minnesota moves, the team signed N’Keal Harry to the active roster from its practice squad. The former Patriots first-rounder has played in two games as a P-squad elevation. The team also signed receiver Trishton Jackson from its P-squad. Tight end Troy Fumagalli and wideout Dan Chisena will join Mannion in catching on with the team’s taxi squad.

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