Wednesday morning’s stream of quarterback news will continue with a Vikings update. They will have one of their original active-roster QBs back at practice this week. Nick Mullens will begin work toward an IR activation, being designated for return.
The Vikings placed Mullens on IR last month with a back injury. In the time since that transaction, the team lost sixth-year starter Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles and saw replacement Jaren Hall sustain a concussion. This has opened the door to Josh Dobbs, who should be expected to keep the job for the foreseeable future.
Mullens has been with the Vikings, however, for the past two seasons. The former 49ers UDFA returning will fortify Minnesota’s QB position, which featured in-season practice squad addition Sean Mannion backing up Dobbs in Week 10. Hall had not yet cleared concussion protocol, moving Mannion back into his old job as the Vikes’ backup. Mullens would stand to be on track to reclaim that role, though it is not certain he will be ready to do so this week. The Vikings have three weeks to activate Mullens.
The Vikings have gone from 0-3 to 6-4, making a remarkable turnaround without Justin Jefferson available for most of this stretch. Dobbs piloted the team to wins in its past two games, coming off the bench to lead a win over the Falcons days after being acquired from the Cardinals. Dobbs continued one of the more eventful stretches in QB-journeyman annals last week, leading a win over the Saints. If the Vikings can turn this into a playoff spot, they would join the 2018 Texans as the only 0-3 teams to recover and advance to the playoffs.
Minnesota designated Jefferson for return last week, and while the all-world wide receiver has not considered shutting himself down for the season, he made it clear he will not return at less than 100%. Considering the number of hamstring aggravations in recent years, it would not surprise to see Jefferson need multiple weeks in the IR-return window before coming back. The Vikings face the Broncos on Sunday night. Minnesota remains in good shape regarding its IR activations; the team has only used two thus far, opening the door to both Jefferson and Mullens coming back.
After initially bringing in Mullens just before the 2022 season, the Vikings re-signed him to a two-year, $4MM deal in March. Mullens, 28, has not started a game as a Viking, as Cousins’ previous run of durability kept his backups on the bench for the bulk of this six-year period. But the veteran backup has completed 21 of 25 passes over four appearances with the team.