Vikings rookie QB Kellen Mond dives in headfirst for NFL education

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On his third day in Minnesota, new Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond walked onto the practice fields at TCO Performance Center for the first time and got a taste for how different the NFL playbook is before hiking the ball.

"It definitely is different playing under center, and just pretty much under center almost every snap [Friday]," said Mond, the third-round pick out of Texas A&M. "Getting away from the line of scrimmage and still being able to have quick feet and time my feet up with all the different routes, that's something I just continue to work on."

Mond's NFL crash course began well before Friday, as the rookie said he spent the couple weeks after the draft watching every Vikings game from last season "multiple times" to study how quarterback Kirk Cousins operated an explosive play-action offense that averaged 8.3 yards per throw — trailing only Houston's 8.9 yards.

Mond said Cousins reached out to congratulate him after the Vikings took the developmental quarterback with the 66th overall pick, "telling me he couldn't wait to work with me. I said the same."

"He contacted me after I got drafted and we talked," Mond said. "I haven't seen him out here but coming up next week, I'm assuming he'll be here. Obviously, I watched all of his film, but I think it also will be really good to see him in person, just be able to communicate and him being a mentor, essentially, and learn from him."

Cousins, and the rest of his veteran teammates, can join the rookies voluntarily starting Monday, when Mond will already have a list of ways he would like to copy the Vikings starter.

"Watching his execution, his footwork, just how he's able to go through his reads and pretty much master the offense," Mond said. "The more I watch him, the more I'm able to mimic his footwork, his cadence, which is huge in the NFL. There's so many things I need to learn."

Rookie contractsThe Vikings agreed to terms with five of 11 draft picks, including first-round tackle Christian Darrisaw, at the start of rookie camp. Darrisaw, the 23rd overall pick, agreed to a four-year deal worth more than $13.3 million based on the NFL's rookie wage scale. He will get a nearly $7.1 million signing bonus.

Fourth-round safety Camryn Bynum, fifth-round receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, sixth-round tight end Zach Davidson and seventh-round defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman also agreed to terms.

In lieu of signing, rookies can practice under injury protection waivers during minicamp, which runs through Sunday. All NFL draft picks sign four-year contracts with salaries slotted by where they were selected in the draft.

Blocking all overDarrisaw is viewed by the Vikings as a "pure left tackle," according to General Manager Rick Spielman, and that's where he aligned Friday at the rookie practice. He has already reached out to right tackle Brian O'Neill, got a Twin Cities barber recommendation, but Darrisaw said he isn't focused on the expectations that he's the Vikings' answer for replacing Riley Reiff.

"I try to just block all that out," Darrisaw said. "I really try not to look [ahead] too much, but I know there's a chance, for sure, and I'm working my tail off to hopefully be in that starting role Week 1."

'Love-hate type deal'Third-round offensive lineman Wyatt Davis lined up at his most recent college position, right guard, during his first pro practice, marking initial steps on a long road toward September's season opener. The rookie is expected to compete for a starting spot this summer, where if all goes well he could be competing against his former Ohio State teammate in quarterback Justin Fields, whom the Bears drafted 11th overall.

"He's a competitor, I love him," Davis said. "Obviously when we play him, it's going to be more of a love-hate type deal. But he's a competitor. He's a true student of the game, but we have great competitors on our team as well."

Track speedRunning back Kene Nwangwu, a fourth-round pick by the Vikings out of Iowa State, was also a Texas state champion high jumper and set program records as a sprinter at Heritage High School in Frisco, Texas. Football speed and track speed are different, he said, adding that doesn't diminish Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf's 10.37-second time in the 100-meter Olympic trials, which ranked 15th out of 17 runners but drew praise from various athletic circles.

"That's awesome," said Nwangwu, who will compete for the Vikings kick returner job. "Just seeing the size comparison to all the other athletes. Him running at that size and being able to do it at that stage is really impressive."

Etc.• All NFL teams are limited to five tryout players at minicamp due to leaguewide pandemic restrictions; the Vikings brought in center Brandon Kennedy (Tennessee), tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk (Buffalo), cornerback Marquise Bridges (North Dakota State), safety Ky'el Hemby (Southern Miss) and cornerback Amari Henderson (Wake Forest).

• Receiver Myron Mitchell, an undrafted signee out of Alabama-Birmingham, was not participating during the portion of practice open to reporters.

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