Former QB Claims Vikings Already Have QB of the Future In-House

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Why not just roll with Sam Darnold?

Former QB Claims Vikings Already Have QB of the Future In-House

That’s the word from former first-overall pick Derek Carr, who now works for NFL Network, and he claims the Minnesota Vikings need not necessarily draft a passer in nine days, instead insinuating that Darnold is right for the quarterback of the future.

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“I think as much ammo as the Vikings might have to be able to trade up in the draft, when you look at it, it’s almost like Sam Darnold is not a bad option,” Carr said Monday.

Minnesota signed Darnold mere hours after Kirk Cousins bolted for the Atlanta Falcons in March, and most perceive the veteran signal-caller as a patchover quarterback to a shiny new rookie. But not Carr.

Carr added, “I think offensively, when you look at the system that Minnesota is going to run, Sam can do a really good job, and he did a good job in San Francisco, and I think he would do a great job in Minnesota. So you’re not really in a situation where you have to stress, or you have to push the gas pedal down on this and make something happen.”

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In the middle of March, two days after Cousins left for the NFC South, Vikings boss Kwesi Adofo-Mensah finagled a splashy trade, grabbing an additional 1st-Round pick from the Houston Texans while offloading two 2nd-Rounders in the deal, plus a late-round pick swap. Most viewed the transaction as a teaser to a second trade that could arrive on draft night.

The Washington Commanders (Pick No. 2), the New England Patriots (Pick No. 3), the Arizona Cardinals (Pick No. 4), or the Los Angeles Chargers (Pick No. 5) have indicated they’re listening to trade offers, and if so, Adofo-Mensah could do business with one of those teams and net a rookie quarterback for life after Cousins.

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Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to go off the board in Rounds 1 and 2, and McCarthy and Maye are the odds-on favorites to end up in purple.

According to Carr, though, selecting one of those “Big Six” sounds more like gravy than necessity.

Conversely, ESPN’s Jordan Reid explained two weeks ago, “The Vikings’ offseason intent is clear — they want a long-term replacement for former starter Kirk Cousins. This has been a three-year project for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and coach Kevin O’Connell, loosely targeted at the 2024 class. Newly acquired Sam Darnold is best viewed as a bridge despite his youth and potential upside.” And Reid’s theory aligns more with public opinion on Darnold’s role with the Vikings in 2024 and beyond.

Sam Darnold
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Still, when Darnold last started in the NFL two years ago, he didn’t play poorly at all.

QB Rankings | 2022,
(min. 125 att)

  1. Patrick Mahomes (.178)
  2. Tua Tagovailoa (.148)
  3. Jalen Hurts (.143)
  4. Josh Allen (.137)
  5. Sam Darnold (.128)
  6. Jimmy Garoppolo (.128)
  7. Joe Burrow (.126)

There’s a plausible chance that Darnold will pull off a Baker Mayfield-like tale in 2023, convincing everyone that he’s a decent start after all. The Vikings’ offense was molded in heaven for any quarterback, Darnold included.

That upside in Kevin O’Connell’s offense is high — so much so that Carr claims a rookie alternative is merely optional.

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