Dalton Risner High on Vikings’ New QB

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Dalton Risner returned to the Minnesota Vikings three weeks ago for a second season, and it didn’t take the man long to develop rapport with his new quarterback.

Dalton Risner High on Vikings’ New QB

All signs point to Sam Darnold as the Vikings’ QB1 to start the season — unless something rather weird happens later this summer where J.J. McCarthy laps the veteran on the depth chart — a strategy that sounds A-okay to Risner.

dalton risner
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up on the field before facing the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, on East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com, NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

“Sam’s an awesome dude too. He’s one of those guys who gets along with the OL real well. One of those guys that you think he was at the facility or a Viking for the last two or three years. By the friends that he has and the way he carries himself,” Risner said recently on the Minnesota Tim Podcast.

Minnesota signed Darnold in March, right after Kirk Cousins left the franchise for the Atlanta Falcons. The New York Jets drafted Darnold six years ago with the third overall pick, but he never took off in New York and didn’t catch fire in Carolina either after departing the Jets. He’ll hope Minnesota is a geographical cure.

Dalton Risner
Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Dalton Risner: “We All Know We Have A Great Culture But We Came Up Short This Season.”

Risner added about Darnold, “He holds himself to a good standard. He’s made some great throws just in my short time of being there. Looks like he has this system down. Who’s going to be a guy who everyone counts on.”

And Risner’s comments aren’t the only praise for the 26-year-old. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said about Darnold on SportsCenter last weekend, “The Vikings believe that there is untapped potential here, that there is a lot of ability. He’s never had a supporting cast quite like this. So, they believe he can not only start games but potentially thrive if everything goes well.”

“So, their plan would be to sit J.J. McCarthy to an unknown amount of games, whether it’s a full season, however many games that they believe he can learn a high-volume passing system behind the scenes at least for a little bit would be good for him,” Fowler added.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

Fowler’s musings align with comments from Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. The skipper said at minicamp, “We haven’t had to put out a depth chart or anything like that, but I would say Sam would be the guy I would look to based on the spring he’s had and, really, where he’s at in his career and his quarterback journey, and what he’s been able to do coming in and [hitting] the ground running and taking advantage of the competitive situation.”

O’Connell also said about Darnold last month while chatting with Kay Adams, “Just from a standpoint of his ability to absorb our offense, go out and execute with a lot of guys, when he steps into the huddle, he’s stepping in with guys that have been in this system for two years. And we’re not really slowing down from a standpoint of how we want to kind of install our offense.”

Starting OG
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

Therefore, it’s fair to say that Darnold’s acclimation to Minnesota is proceeding swimmingly. We shall see if it translates to regular season success — because Darnold has wowed onlookers in the past during spring and summer sessions.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.