Sam Darnold the Subject of Outlandishly Bold Prediction

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Darnold joins Vikings Entertainment Network's Gabe Henderson and discusses being coached now by his former New York Jets teammate, Josh McCown, being a big UFC fan, his journey through the NFL and more. Darnold became a Vikings in March 2024 after Kirk Cousins left for the Atlanta Falcons.

At heart, bold predictions in sports are designed to be “out there” and more so food for thought rather than beacons of realism.

Sam Darnold the Subject of Outlandishly Bold Prediction

That’s the mentality needed to digest one of’s latest predictions for the Minnesota Vikings and, specifically, quarterback Sam Darnold.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.’s Conor Orr authored 100 bold NFL predictions this week, and for Darnold, the forecast was a trade out of Minnesota into the lap of a playoff-contending team. Orr wrote, “This will be the season of Sam Darnold. The 2018 No. 3 pick of the Jets will have a short runway as the Minnesota Vikings’ starter before he gets traded before the Nov. 5 deadline to a contender that has an injured starter, paving the way for the J.J. McCarthy era to begin in Minnesota.”

Darnold became a Viking in March after Kirk Cousins bolted to the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. He’s expected to start Week 1 for Minnesota, while some believe he could script a 2023 Baker Mayfield tale with all the playmakers at his disposal.

Sam Darnold
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

Orr then dropped the juiciest part of his bold Darnold prediction, “Darnold will head back to the AFC and start in a critical late-season game against the Jets, a team that will be teetering on the brink of playoff contention. After playing well in a thrashing of the Jets, the New York Post back page headline will be GHOST STORY.”

Obviously, a lot has to happen for Orr’s bold theory to materialize. Darnold evidently has to play well — but not well enough to hold off J.J. McCarthy for the QB1 job. Because — why would an AFC team want Darnold if he performed poorly in Minnesota?

Dolphins Name Starting QB vs. Vikings
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

After that, a team playing the Jets late in the season must be the trade participant. Per New York’s schedule, that limits the choices to the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Therefore, according to Orr’s out-there take, Minnesota will conduct a late October trade with Miami, Buffalo, or Jacksonville.

Trade theories aside, one item is somewhat certain regarding Darnold. He’s likely to start for Minnesota out of the gate in September. Head coach Kevin O’Connell 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.”

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

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 all systems go for Darnold as Minnesota’s QB1, and per a bold theory, the relationship could be short-lived, with Darnold on the move via trade back to the AFC. Bold, indeed.

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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