One Viking Showered with Predictable Praise at OTAs

2 Vikings Reach PFF's Top 50 of 2022
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The man always looks great in the spring and summer.

One Viking Showered with Predictable Praise at OTAs

He’s Sam Darnold, the quarterback favored by oddsmakers to start out of the gate for the 2024 Minnesota Vikings. And don’t look now, but Darnold is already fulfilling his modus operandi.

Vikings QB
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis tweeted Wednesday about Darnold’s performance at organized team activities (OTAs), with the regular season 99 days away: “One day of practice, so no reason at all to make more of it than need be, but thought Sam Darnold looked very good today. Just unafraid throwing over the middle, accurate, some nice juice on it. Lot of solid connections with Jordan Addison.”

Unsurprisingly, this is what Darnold does. Fans can assuredly be excited about it, but it’s nothing terribly new. In fact, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said last week, “We don’t always get quarterback competition, and this is a real one. The fact that Sam Darnold is in there. I have also heard he has looked good, he is going to look good. Something he has done his entire career, when it’s the spring, when it’s the preseason or when he has been unbothered, he has looked excellent. It’s really a matter of when he gets in games, is he the same quarterback when it doesn’t all go perfectly?”

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/, via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

It’s a theme, indeed. 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. His predecessor, Kirk Cousins, skedaddled for the Atlanta Falcons in March.

Rapoport also mentioned, “I could see Sam Darnold never relinquishing Vikings’ QB1 role in 2024.”

J.J. McCarthy with the Minnesota Vikings practice highlights from OTA No. 2 of 2024, which took place at the TCO Performance Center. The Minnesota Vikings used the 10th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft to select McCarthy after a trade up the board with the New York Jets.

Meanwhile, Vikings head coach O’Connell recently said about Darnold 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.”

He added, “Sam’s been great. The physical talent jumps out to me. His ability to throw the football. He’s really, really refined himself from a technique and fundamentals standpoint. Really playing with great balance and kind of the body position that elite quarterbacks tend to play with.”

These are the hints and clues. Darnold always thrives at this point on the calendar, and 2024 is no different. He’s probably heading to a television screen near you in September as QB1.

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