Questions Answered: Sam Darnold Prediction, Vikings Leaguewide Ranking, Dalvin Cook

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.

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by VikingsTerritory. Today is the May 27th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Questions Answered: Sam Darnold Prediction, Vikings Leaguewide Ranking, Dalvin Cook

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

Sam Darnold
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Q: Do you think Sam Darnold will start in Week 1 and what will his 2024 statistics look like in your opinion?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Answer: We think Darnold starting Week 1 will be a no-brainer by the time the summer gets hot and heavy around July and August.

The Vikings don’t want to rush J.J. McCarthy into anything, and they signed Darnold for a reason — this one. He’s in the Twin Cities to hold down the fort until McCarthy is ready, which could be midseason or in 2025. Our take is that it will be a foregone conclusion that Darnold is QB1 by mid-August.

For a statline, assuming Darnold plays the whole season, let’s go with 3,600 passing yards, 26 touchdown passes, and 13 interceptions, ranking him smack dab in the middle of the NFL.

Q: Where do you have the Vikings in your power rankings?

Jefferson Smashes
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Answer: No. 22

Minnesota is prepared for a transformational season, eyeing a 7-10 or 8-9 campaign if Sam Darnold starts the entire time. The NFC North is simply too brutal after being rather lousy in 2022, for example. There’s always a chance that Darnold scripts a Baker Mayfield story from 2023, but those are best-case scenarios.

The goal is to copy the 2023 Houston Texans, but that would mean McCarthy is brilliant right away, and Minnesota sports can’t usually have nice things, at least not that soon.

Q: Should Minnesota re-sign Dalvin Cook because he’s still a free agent?

There Is a Dalvin Cook Plot Twist
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

A: No.

Sadly, Cook is pretty much washed, proving the unfortunate circumstance with the New York Jets in 2023. In fact, in 2022, one could see Cook’s slow-down, but he kept his reputation alive with a few really sweet touchdown scampers.

Cook is an RB3 now — maybe an RB2 on a good day — and he’ll sign somewhere for the 2024 campaign. Yet, Minnesota has Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler on the roster, and a reunion with Cook just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

We certainly wouldn’t be mad if Cook returned on a team-friendly deal, but the ship has sailed on his Pro Bowl days, and it’s unlikely that he will rekindle the glory. He should latch onto a championship-contending team and see where the chips fall.

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 MIN 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