In 17-7 loss to 49ers, Sean Mannion outduels Kellen Mond in Vikings’ battle for backup QB
Neither quarterback shined, but Mannion's play a little steadier
MINNEAPOLIS — If the preseason is a best-of-three series in the battle to become the Vikings’ backup quarterback, the score is now tied 1-1.
Kellen Mond had a better outing than Sean Mannion in last Sunday’s exhibition opener, a loss at Las Vegas. In Game 2, Saturday night’s 17-7 loss to San Francisco at U.S. Bank Stadium, Mannion was hardly great but he was better than a shaky Mond.
So perhaps the competition will be decided in next Saturday’s preseason finale at Denver.
Against the 49ers, the Vikings announced before the game that they would sit out 27 players, including quarterback Kirk Cousins and all but one starter. So most of the drama surrounded Mond and Mannion, who are listed as co-backups on the depth chart.
With Cousins out against the Raiders after testing positive for COVID-19, Mannion got the start in the 26-20 loss but shared time with Mond. On Saturday, Mond, entering his second season, got his first NFL preseason start and split time with Mannion, entering his eight season.
Mond was hot in the second half against the Raiders, but he returned to earth Saturday. Playing in the first and third quarters and in the final minutes, he completed 10 of 20 passes for 82 yards and threw two ugly interceptions. His passer rating was a meager 21.2.
Mannion, who played the entire second quarter and most of the fourth, completed 10 of 15 passes for 65 yards and had a passer rating of 75.7. Mannion threw mostly low-risk passes, but was 4 of 4 on a drive late in the second quarter that led to a 3-yard touchdown run by rookie Ty Chandler.
Mond’s interceptions both came on poor throws. On the opening drive, he misfired badly on a pass down the left sideline to Bisi Johnson, and it was picked off by 49ers safety George Odum, who returned it 34 yards to the Minnesota 48. Late in the game, he threw a bad ball right into the hands of safety Tayler Hawkins.
Mond didn’t look to play with the same confidence he did against the Raiders, when he completed 9 of 14 passes for 119 yards with an impressive passer rating of 130.7. He seemed to hold the ball too long at times, including later in the first quarter when he was sacked for a 11-yard loss by Javon Kinlaw, back to the 5-yard line.
Overall in the preseason, Mond has completed 19 of 34 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Mannion, who completed 8 of 12 passes for 79 yards at Las Vegas, has completed 18 of 27 passes for 134 yards in his two preseason games.
Mond was helped in the preseason opener by a strong running game, but the Vikings were less effective on the ground Saturday. Their leading rusher was Ty Chandler, who carried five times for 19 yards and gave them a 7-3 lead with his touchdown run.
The Vikings led 7-6 at halftime, but the 49ers controlled the second half. They took the lead for good on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld to JaMycal Hasty. Hasty on the first play of the fourth quarter. Robbie Gould then wrapped up the game with his third field-goal of the game, a 28-yarder, with 4:09 left for a 17-7 lead.
The 49ers also rested a number of starters, including quarterback Trey Lance, a native of Marshall, Minn.
Of 27 Minnesota players ruled out before the game, the only position player not listed who is first on the depth chart was defensive end Armon Watts, who started.
Rookie guard Ed Ingram started at right guard over a rested Jesse Davis, who is listed as first on the depth chart. But Ingram, a second-round pick, worked with the first team in joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday with the 49ers and could end up beating Davis out.
Rookie safety Lewis Cine, taken with the No. 32 pick in the first round, started at safety with both Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum being held out. Cine is battling Bynum to be a starter but Bynum not playing Saturday is another indication he has a firm hold on the job.
Cornerback Cameron Dantzler, who sat out, also has a firm hold on a starting job over rookie Andrew Booth Jr., a second round pick. Booth started but was lost for the game in the second quarter due to an ankle injury.
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