A 10-7 Record Would Mean Sam Darnold Plays All Games for Vikings

Vegas Odds
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The Minnesota Vikings are breaking in a pair of quarterbacks this season, but only one should realistically see the field. J.J. McCarthy can sit and learn for a year, and if that winds up being the case, a 10-win season wouldn’t be crazy for Sam Darnold.

A 10-7 Record Would Mean Sam Darnold Plays All Games for Vikings

When the Minnesota Vikings signed Sam Darnold this offseason, they were one of multiple suitors. With a $10 million contract for the one season he is expected to play for Kevin O’Connell, the veteran signal-caller was brought in to play. Regardless of the Vikings’ intention to find their quarterback of the future, they were only going to want to start him once development and opportunity aligned.

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For Darnold, the Vikings provide an opportunity for the former first-round pick to have a competent set of circumstances for the first time in his career. What he does with that remains to be seen, but if he hangs onto the starting role all year, it’s because O’Connell’s team will be winning.

Projected for just 6.5 wins during 2024, Darnold would certainly be relegated to the bench if that’s the trajectory that Minnesota found themselves on. Getting J.J. McCarthy a level of exposure while the team trended downward is often how rookies are ultimately thrown into action. The better that Darnold performs, the longer McCarthy sits on the bench, and the greater chance he is actually ready when setting up under center.

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Ten wins as an NFC North team would be quite the statement. The Detroit Lions are expected to be the cream of the crop again, and Minnesota beating them in either contest would be a mild surprise. Taking down the Bears and Packers is a bit more straightforward, but at least Green Bay should be expected to hover a tier above the Vikings.

Ultimately though, a 10-7 record is just a couple of swings better than an average .500 mark. With the resources he has available to him now, that shouldn’t be a substantial bar to clear for Darnold. Even if he swaps results for weeks on end, the Vikings continuing to go with the veteran while playing to a level of mediocrity would not be a surprise. A determination that McCarthy provides a late-season spark may be on the table in that scenario, but it wouldn’t be rushed.

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At the end of the day, there seems to be plenty of steam to suggest that the Vikings want Darnold to start all year and that he has the talent to do so. If that plays out, then a solid record should also result.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.