Nick Mullens

Vikings To Start Nick Mullens In Week 18

Still alive for a postseason berth, the Vikings have once again made a change to their quarterback depth chart. Head coach Kevin O’Connell announced on Wednesday that Nick Mullens will start in the season finale.

Rookie Jaren Hall got the nod for last week’s primetime game against the Packers, one with major playoff implications for both teams. Minnesota’s offense struggled with Hall at the helm, however, and Mullens finished the 33-10 loss. With the Vikings still in contention for a wild-card berth, the latter will once again return to first-team duties.

Minnesota has cycled through three signal-callers since Kirk Cousins‘ Achilles tear. An injury to Hall opened the door to Josh Dobbs taking over immediately upon arrival, but his impressive run was short-lived. Mullens offered a spark in terms of offensive yardage when in place for starts against the Bengals and Lions. However, his combined six interceptions in those contests led O’Connell to entrust Hall with the all-important start in Week 17. In spite of the loss in that game, the Vikings have a narrow path to a playoff spot.

Both a win against the Lions and help from other results will be needed for Minnesota to reach the wild-card round. In the event that were to happen, the team would once again face a signficant QB decision, although a Mullens win would certainly help his cause in that regard. The former UDFA has amassed 910 passing yards and five touchdowns this season, but turnover issues have led to hesitancy with respect to giving him a longer run in the No. 1 role.

As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes, no decision on a backup has been made as of yet. Hall and Dobbs represent O’Connell’s options, although he will obviously hope to avoid needing to use either of them on Sunday. Attention will turn to Cousins’ impending free agency once the Vikings’ season is over, but for now their fate will rest in Mullens’ hands.

Vikings Contemplating QB Change?

The Vikings lost a key divisional matchup in Week 16, in large part due to the turnover-filled performance of quarterback Nick Mullens. In the wake of his rough outing, a change atop the QB depth chart could be forthcoming.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports the Vikings are “taking a long look” at replacing Mullens and starting rookie Jaren Hall. The former has started the past two games since taking over from Josh Dobbs late in Minnesota’s 3-0 win over the Raiders. Mullens has amassed 714 passing yards over that stretch, but he has also thrown six interceptions while fumbling twice. The Vikings lost both of his starts, leaving the team out of contention for the NFC North title.

Sitting at 7-8, a wild-card spot is still in reach, however, so Minnesota’s decision under center in the bid to find a consistent Kirk Cousins replacement will be crucial to close out the season. Dobbs enjoyed a strong start to his Vikings tenure after arriving at the trade deadline, but he later struggled. That opened the door to Mullens taking over, and ESPN’s Kevin Seifert noted in the aftermath of Saturday’s loss that the 28-year-old appeared to still be in place to get the nod for Week 17.

Mullens has the most career starts amongst Minnesota’s healthy options under center, and he began the season as Cousins’ backup. When announcing that the former UDFA would be in place for Week 16, head coach Kevin O’Connell stressed the importance of not being unnecessarily aggressive, a challenge Mullens failed to meet. As a result, it would not come as a complete surprise if the team turned to Hall for his second career start despite the late-season circumstances.

Hall was drafted in the fifth round this April, the time when many believed the Vikings would add an heir apparent to Cousins given the latter’s status as a pending free agent. Amidst the inconsistencies at the QB position since Cousins tore his Achilles, Hall received a start in the first game after Cousins went down, but he suffered a concussion. As a result, he has attempted a total of just 10 passes in the regular season to date.

The Vikings have a game against the Packers and a rematch with the Lions remaining on their schedule. Winning both will be critical to their postseason outlook, but the question of who will be in place under center for those contests will be a key question in the coming days.

Vikings To Start Nick Mullens In Week 16

The Vikings’ playoff prospects took a hit on Saturday, but a quarterback change does not appear to be imminent. Minnesota is expected to stick with Nick Mullens as the starter under center, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. Head coach Kevin O’Connell has since confirmed the news.

Mullens started in Week 15 against the Bengals after taking over from Josh Dobbs midway through the previous game. The move came as little surprise given the latter’s struggles after a surprisingly impressive first few contests in Minnesota, and the former’s status as Kirk Cousins‘ backup to begin the year. Mullens missed time due to a back injury which coincided with Cousins’ Achilles tear, but he is now in place to finish the campaign atop the depth chart.

“The biggest thing is Nick showed he can execute our offense and really move the football team,” O’Connell said, via Fowler’s colleague Kevin Seifert“I think what we’ve got to continue to work through are those plays where we don’t try to do too much.”

O’Connell stopped short of naming Mullens the starter for the rest of the season, so a game-to-game approach will remain in place for the time being. The 28-year-old threw for 303 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 26-of-33 passing in the Vikings’ loss to the Bengals, but he also had a pair of interceptions. Mullens was stopped on a key fourth-and-one in overtime, which set up Cincinnati’s game-winning field goal. While there is room for improvement, Mullens will have the opportunity to rebound in Week 16.

The Vikings are set to play the Lions for the first of two meetings in the final three weeks of the season, and winning against the NFC North leaders will be critical to Minnesota’s playoff chances. The Vikings sit at 7-7 on the year, putting them in contention for a wild-card berth. With wideout Justin Jefferson back in the lineup, the team’s offense could deliver strong showings in the passing game with Mullens at the helm down the stretch.

The former UDFA is under contract through 2024, making his future much more certain than that of Cousins. The latter is set to hit free agency this offseason, though the Vikings are open to another new contract with the four-time Pro Bowler. Regardless of what happens on that front, Mullens could earn the No. 2 job moving forward (a spot rookie Jaren Hall will be competing for) with a strong showing in his temporary period as a starter.

Vikings To Start Nick Mullens In Week 15

DECEMBER 14: Dobbs will make a Zach Wilson-like drop on the Vikings’ depth chart. After consideration, O’Connell said Hall will be Mullens’ backup against the Bengals on Saturday. Dobbs will act as Minnesota’s emergency quarterback. Hall will reclaim the QB2 job he held near the season’s midpoint, when Mullens’ IR stay moved the BYU product behind Cousins.

A third-string role is not unusual for Dobbs, who worked in this capacity in Pittsburgh for a bit. But he spent much of last season as Jacoby Brissett‘s Browns backup, finishing the year as the Titans’ emergency starter. The latter run put Dobbs in line to back up Deshaun Watson this season. After both his 2023 trades, Dobbs ended up as a starter. After eight Cardinals starts and four with the Vikes, he will take a seat for the time being. Additionally, the Vikings ruled out starting running back Alexander Mattison due to an ankle sprain.

DECEMBER 12: The Vikings, who entered this season with one of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history, will soon match the Browns for QB1 volume. Minnesota is set to start Nick Mullens in Week 15, according to’s Tom Pelissero.

Mullens replaced Josh Dobbs in the Vikings’ 3-0 win over the Raiders. While Dobbs fared well when called upon shortly after the midseason trade, he has struggled in recent weeks. Mullens has been with the Vikings since the team added him just before the 2022 season.

Minnesota will go from Kirk Cousins to Jaren Hall to Dobbs to Mullens as its starting quarterbacks this season. The team turned to Dobbs initially due to a Hall concussion and Mullens residing on IR. The team activated the former 49ers UDFA from IR last month, and he will suddenly become a key factor in the NFC playoff race.

A Southern Miss product Kyle Shanahan once used as San Francisco’s primary starter after Jimmy Garoppolo‘s 2018 ACL tear, Mullens has 17 starts under his belt. He has not started a game since 2021, which came about due to both Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum residing in the COVID-19 protocol that December. Mullens, however, made eight starts in both the 2018 and ’20 seasons.

Just before waiving Kellen Mond in August 2022, the Vikings acquired Mullens from the Raiders to back up Cousins. The team re-signed the reserve arm to a two-year, $4MM deal this offseason. That AAV checked in south of many QB2 contracts this offseason, but the Vikings had not needed to worry about an injury to their starting quarterback since Sam Bradford went down in September 2017. Cousins had never missed a game due to injury in his career prior to the Achilles tear he suffered in October. With Mullens already on IR with a back injury, the team trotted out Hall. But it backstopped the fifth-round rookie with Dobbs, acquired from the Cardinals in a deadline-day pick-swap trade.

Following Dobbs’ four-INT showing in a Week 12 loss to the Bears, Kevin O’Connell said the team would revisit its QB hierarchy during the bye week. With Justin Jefferson coming back in Week 14, the Vikings chose to give Dobbs another chance. Amid the only 3-0 game played indoors in NFL history, O’Connell yanked Dobbs and called in Mullens, whose 9-for-13 showing helped the team escape Las Vegas with a game-winning field goal. The Vikings have not decided if Dobbs or Hall will be Mullens’ backup against the Bengals on Saturday, Kevin Seifert of notes.

Mullens, 28, holds a career 65.4% completion rate. Finishing with an impressive 8.3 yards per attempt as a rookie, Mullens carries a career 7.7 mark in that category. Being at the controls for George Kittle‘s then-record season for tight end receiving yards, Mullens has thrown 27 career touchdown passes compared to 23 interceptions. The Vikings will see how viable the sixth-year vet is outside of Shanahan’s system, though O’Connell’s is also derived from the Shanahans/Gary Kubiak family. The Vikes will Mullens the keys as they attempt to either hold onto wild-card real estate or eclipse the Lions in the NFC North.

Vikings To Start Josh Dobbs In Week 14

DECEMBER 6: As expected, Dobbs will once again get the call for Minnesota. Despite his four-interception performance in an ugly home loss to the Bears, the trade pickup will make a fourth start for the Vikings. Dobbs, who entered this season with two starts in six years, has started all but one of his teams’ games this season. This will be the recent Kyler Murray stopgap’s 12th 2023 start.

The back injury that sent Mullens to IR factored into the Vikes’ decision-making, per’s Kevin Seifert, who adds O’Connell wants the to develop Hall in an “orderly fashion.” The Vikes evidently do not want the rookie fifth-rounder yo-yoing between starter and backup.

DECEMBER 2: The Vikings have a quarterback decision to make during their bye week. While head coach Kevin O’Connell has left the door open to a change under center, it would not come as a surprise for Josh Dobbs to at least temporarily retain his starting role.

Dobbs was brought in via trade in response to Kirk Cousins‘ Achilles tear. The former was not expected to immediately see playing time, but a concussion suffered by rookie Jaren Hall forced Dobbs into action. He has held the No. 1 role since then due to his surprising level of play in his first two starts (which were victories), as well as the absence of Nick Mullens.

All three passers are now healthy, however, and Dobbs’ play has taken a turn for the worse over the past two contests. Turnovers played a major factor in the Vikings’ narrow losses to the Broncos and Bears, and the bye week would represent a logical time to make a switch. O’Connell said earlier this week an evaluation will be conducted during Minnesota’s time off to determine the team’s starter for at least Week 14.

Plenty is yet to be decided on that front, but Dianna Russini of the Athletic writes Dobbs is in position to get the nod as things currently stand (subscription required). A similar sentiment is expressed by Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who adds practice reps in the coming week will be crucial in making a final call. With Justin Jefferson set to return in Week 14, all three quarterbacks are in line to practice with the reigning Offensive Player of the Year to adapt to the offense with him in the lineup.

“We’re going to make sure that whoever’s playing quarterback is aware and understands the intent behind plays, where either Justin is the primary [receiver] or based upon coverage, based upon the defensive look, how to quickly and efficiently get to the right place to go with the football,” O’Connell said, via Goessling.

Sitting at 6-6, the Vikings are firmly within the NFC Wild-Card race despite Cousins being lost for the year. There will thus be plenty at stake for the stretch run and specifically for whichever passer lands the No. 1 job to close out the season. Dobbs may have the inside track for the time being, but the in-season competition set to take place in the coming days will be worth watching closely.

Vikings To Consider QB Change During Bye Week

Josh Dobbs endured his worst performance during his brief time with the Vikings during last night’s loss, and it remains to be seen if he will remain atop the quarterback depth chart after the team’s bye week. Head coach Kevin O’Connell acknowledged changes could be made ahead of Minnesota’s next game.

Dobbs was acquired at the trade deadline to provide depth in the wake of Kirk Cousins‘ Achilles tear. Fifth-round rookie Jaren Hall was initially set to take over starting duties, but his own injury thrust Dobbs into the lineup days after arriving with the team. The Vikings enjoyed early success with the latter in place, but he threw four interceptions in Week 12, bringing him to a total of eight turnovers in his four Minnesota appearances. Dobbs nearly received the hook yesterday, O’Connell said (via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert).

Hall has cleared concussion protocol, while Nick Mullens – initially in place as Cousins’ backup to start the season – has come off injured reserve. As a result, O’Connell will have multiple options to choose from during his evaluation of the QB situation over the team’s week off. Sitting at 6-6 on the year, the chances of a push for a wild-card spot need to be taken into account along with the upside of giving Hall developmental reps down the stretch.

“We’re going to take a look and really evaluate the inventory of plays we have of Josh,” O’Connell said, via Seifert. “We got healthy. We got Jaren back available to us, and then Nick Mullens is available as well.”

Dobbs and Mullens have similar levels of regular season experience and they have each bounced around to several teams in their respective careers. The latter has far more familiarity with O’Connell’s system, though, having been in Minnesota since 2022. On the other hand, Hall was drafted this past spring in the team’s only move to add a potential Cousins successor, so giving him an extended look could carry signficant importance for 2024 and beyond.

Cousins is set to hit free agency this offseason, though he and the team have expressed a desire to continue their relationship. While that situation will be a central one for the Vikings, their more immediate future under center is also uncertain as the stretch run looms.

Vikings Will Not Activate WR Justin Jefferson For Week 11; QB Nick Mullens Activated

For the second straight week, Vikings fans will come away disappointed as star wide receiver Justin Jefferson will once again not be activated from injured reserve in time for Sunday’s game, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Jefferson returned to practice this week but clearly doesn’t quite feel ready to return to the active roster.

The All-Pro receiver’s 21-day practice window was opened on November 8, meaning Jefferson can miss this week’s contest and potentially even the one after that before returning from IR. He will have to be activated in the week after the team’s Week 12 game against the Bears in order to avoid losing the ability to be activated off IR, but if he still needs time to get healthy, the Vikings have a Week 13 bye that will grant Jefferson another two weeks after the Chicago matchup to get right.

That’s not to say that Jefferson will miss next week, as well, necessarily. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Minnesota has noted good progress for Jefferson this week and are getting very close to activating him. He just wasn’t quite ready to be activated by today’s 4pm deadline.

The Vikings will make an addition to their active roster, though, activating quarterback Nick Mullens from IR today. Following the loss of Kirk Cousins for the year, the addition of Mullens certainly becomes more meaningful, but Mullens won’t be asked to take over the offense in Cousins’ absence as trade acquisition Joshua Dobbs has assumed the starting position under center. Still, Mullens provides Minnesota with a stronger option at backup quarterback. Jaren Hall remains unavailable as he deals with a concussion, and Mullens should be an upgrade over practice squad passer Sean Mannion.

In addition to the activation of Mullens, the Vikings announced that two more players would be added to the active roster for tomorrow’s contest. The team has promoted veteran linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Joejuan Williams from the practice squad in time for tomorrow’s Mile High matchup.

Vikings Open Nick Mullens’ Practice Window

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.

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.

Vikings Expected To Re-Sign QB Nick Mullens

The Vikings saw some notable departures on defense yesterday, but they will see continuity under center in 2023. Minnesota is expected to re-sign backup quarterback Nick Mullens, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

Mullens spent last season in Minnesota but arrived in the Twin Cities after initially committing to a Las Vegas stay. The Raiders ended up trading him to the Vikings, where he spent the season as Kirk Cousins‘ backup. The latter’s durability led to Mullens riding the bench throughout, after he had seen some action as a Browns reserve in 2021.

The team’s Mullens acquisition preceded a trade of 2021 third-round pick Kellen Mond, who spent the season in Cleveland. Mullens, 27, completed 21 of 25 passes during his initial Vikings season, which ended Sean Mannion‘s run as Cousins’ backup. Minnesota also released Mannion just before Week 1.

Best known for his work as a Jimmy Garoppolo fill-in with the 49ers, Mullens has 17 starts on his resume. Sixteen of those came with San Francisco, with which he sported a 25-to-22 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio. Kyle Shanahan turned to Mullens, despite the presence of former third-round pick C.J. Beathard, frequently in 2018 and 2020 — as Garoppolo dealt with multiple major injuries — and he completed 64% of his passes during the three-season Bay Area stay.

Mullens profiles as an inexpensive backup. While the Vikings could certainly land a higher-profile QB2 option on a crowded market here, Cousins has not missed a game due to injury during his five-season run in Minneapolis.