On a flight earlier this 12 months, Nick Mullens reclined in his seat and watched “American Underdog,” the story of corridor of fame quarterback Kurt Warner. The movie resonated with him.
Warner was undrafted by the NFL popping out of Northern Iowa in 1993. Mullens was an undrafted quarterback in 2017 from Southern Mississippi.
“(Warner is) clearly top-of-the-line undrafted gamers of all time, so I’ve a number of respect for his profession,” mentioned Mullens, the Vikings’ backup to Kirk Cousins. “For certain, (the film was inspiring) as a result of you possibly can join in several ways in which different individuals won’t be capable to.”
Not that Mullens will come near what Warner completed within the NFL, however he can determine with a few of the issues he needed to undergo to easily make a roster. Mullens, who has been waived twice in his NFL profession and has spent two of his six seasons on follow squads, can also determine him with quarterback David Blough’s journey.
Blough is on the Vikings’ follow squad. He was undrafted in 2019 out of Purdue.
“I really feel like we have taken comparable paths in our profession so far as being undrafted after which getting alternatives to play,” Mullens mentioned. “So it is cool to share tales. Anytime you go undrafted, you most likely have sure challenges that different guys won’t face.”
The Vikings acquired Mullens from Las Vegas on Aug. 22 to again up Cousins after neither Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond impressed coaches. Mannion and Mond finally have been waived, and the Vikings signed Blough to the follow squad on Sept. 2, two days after he was waived by Detroit.
“We speak about form of the journey it’s to be an undrafted quarterback,” Blough mentioned of his dealings with Mullens. “You form of must kick and scratch and claw yearly. That is simply aside of it. It is enjoyable to be round a man you can see has had some success after being undrafted.”
Earlier than becoming a member of the Vikings, Mullens was with San Francisco from 2017-20 and Cleveland in 2021, then signed with the Raiders earlier this 12 months. He has a 5-12 document within the 17 NFL video games he has began.
Blough initially signed with the Browns earlier than being traded to Detroit, the place he spent the previous three seasons. I’ve began 5 video games as a rookie in 2019 however misplaced all of them.
Blough has been in an attention-grabbing spot this week because the Vikings face the Lions on Sunday at US Financial institution Stadium. He has performed the position of Detroit quarterback Jared Goff, his former teammate of him, on the scout crew and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips mentioned Vikings coaches have talked to Blough about issues the Lions do on each offense and protection.
Phillips sees similarities between Mullens and Blough.
“You actually see the intangibles of form of what allowed them to be right here and nonetheless be on this league,” Phillips mentioned. “There’s clearly a expertise degree that they must must be at this degree, however the preparation, the best way that these guys each got here (to Minnesota) at completely different instances. However these guys are grinders. They love ball.”
If both Mullens or Blough ever begins a Vikings recreation, the listing undrafted quarterbacks who’ve had begins for Minnesota would develop. The listing contains corridor of famer Warren Moon, Case Keenum, Gary Cuozzo, Sean Salisbury, Shaun Hill, Ron Vander Kelen and Todd Bouman.
Bouman, a local of Ruthton, Minn., who performed at St. Cloud State, began seven video games throughout his NFL profession from 1997-2010, together with three whereas with the Vikings from 1997-2002. He can determine with Mullens and Blough, and mentioned undrafted quarterbacks have a bond with each other.
“You already know what it takes to get there,” mentioned Bouman, a resident of Buffalo, Minn. “You need to do the whole lot all people else does plus a bit of bit extra to get observed. When (the Vikings) introduced in Shaun Hill (in 2002), we received to be good associates instantly. You perceive all of the obstacles you’ve gotten that possibly different individuals do not.”
Final season, Mullens frolicked in Cleveland with Keenum, who’s now with Buffalo, and the 2 mentioned their undrafted paths. Blough additionally has gotten to know Keenum, who went 11-3 as a starter in 2017 and helped lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship Sport. The 2 have met at Christian marriage conferences.
“I have been blessed,” Blough mentioned of creating the NFL. “You need to have some breaks go your manner, some individuals have to love you, and it’s important to play good soccer.”
Mullens has met Warner a number of instances, and performed in his charity flag soccer event in 2018. They’ve talked about being undrafted, and Warner has supplied Mullens profession recommendation.
“The largest factor I keep in mind him telling me is, whether or not you’ve gotten a superb recreation or a nasty recreation, always remember the participant you might be,” Mullens mentioned. “Everyone has a distinct story, and I am very grateful for my story and the best way the whole lot has panned out.”
Blough hasn’t met Warner or watched “American Underdog.” However he mentioned the film is on his listing of issues to do.
“My mother (Luann) informed me I must see it, however I simply have not gotten round to it,” he mentioned.