One Viking Gets the “Untapped Potential” Treatment

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It hasn’t worked out yet for the man, but there’s still time to unlock more.

One Viking Gets the “Untapped Potential” Treatment

That’s the word on Sam Darnold, a man on deck to lead the Minnesota Vikings in 2024 as QB1 even after the franchise drafted Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy in Round 1 two months ago. The Vikings evidently believe they’ll uncork Darnold’s untapped potential, leading Minnesota’s offense to proficiency in 2024.

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ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said about Darnold on SportsCenter over the 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.”

The Vikings signed Darnold in March, about 12 hours after former quarterback Kirk Cousins joined the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. Most fans interpreted the Darnold addition as a patchover quarterback or bridge maneuver, but Minnesota may have grander aspirations.

Vikings QB
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“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.

And Fowler’s musings align with comments from Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. The skipper said last week during 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.”

Coach Still Has
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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.”

It’s a theme, indeed. Of course, Darnold must look over his should this summer — and indefinitely — as it’s only a matter of time before rookie passer J.J. McCarthy takes the QB1 reins. Minnesota selected McCarthy with the 10th overall pick in April’s draft, and whether this season or next, he’ll get a full audition as the quarterback of the future.

The Carolina Panthers arrive at Wofford College for their 2022 training camp. The team plans to host 12 training camp practices that are free and open to the public. This Saturday July 30, the team will hold the ‘Back Together’ event at Gibbs Stadium at the college. The Panthers’ Sam Darnold talks about working with his fellow players at training camp. © ALEX HICKS JR./SPARTANBURG HERALD-JOURNAL / USA TODAY NETWORK.

But for now, Minnesota apparently believes Darnold can be whisked to his fullest potential. After all, the man was the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. If he plans to succeed as a QB1, 2024 in Minnesota is likely his last best chance.

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).

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