Travis Kelce Believes 1 Vikings Signing Will Be a Comeback Story

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Kelce will be a Hall of Famer one day, there’s no doubt about it. The three-time Super Bowl champion has been Kansas City’s top target for years and has been one of the most productive tight ends of all time. He has delivered seven seasons with at least 1,000 yards, three more than the tied-second-placed TE in NFL history.

Travis Kelce Believes 1 Vikings Signing Will Be a Comeback Story

His relationship with Taylor Swift has made quite a noise in the NFL world but so has his podcast New Heights which he hosts with his brother Jason Kelce who recently retired. They talk about their careers, they talk about their lives in general, and during free agency, they talk about some signings around the league.

Travis Kelce Believes 1 Vikings Signing Will Be a Comeback Story
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

In Wednesday’s episode, the new quarterback spots were one of the topics and Travis thinks Sam Darnold could be a major story in the upcoming season.

Minnesota news broke that the Vikings are signing former Niners quarterback Sam Darnold, which is a great signing for them. I think Sam has got a lot of good football left in him as well. Had a tough scenario over there in Carolina. I think he’s due for a comeback story man.

Travis Kelce

Darnold has had quite a fascinating career so far. Coming out of USC in 2018, Darnold was considered by many the top QB in the draft class as his arm talent promised a ton of upside. But that hasn’t translated to the NFL so far.

Sam Darnold & Danielle Hunter
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The circumstance, though, didn’t help him and guided him toward bust status. Becoming the QB1 of the New York Jets is never helpful for a quarterback as New York’s media doesn’t let a young player make mistakes but those aren’t preventable when developing a signal-caller. After three seasons of barely providing him with solid coaching, an offensive line, or receivers, the Jets shipped him to Carolina and selected his successor, Zach Wilson.

Unfortunately for Darnold, the stint in Carolina wasn’t much better. He experienced more dysfunction, subpar coaching, and unreliable weapons.

Through six NFL seasons and 56 career starts, Darnold has thrown for 12,064 yards, 63 passing touchdowns, and 56 interceptions. He was benched multiple times. The Vikings now hope to get more out of the 26-year-old who despite his young age has plenty of experience in the league.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Without any doubt, the surroundings in Minnesota will help him. Head coach Kevin O’Connell and QB Josh McCown are both former NFL quarterbacks. McCown was Darnold’s teammate during his rookie season. If someone can fix his flaws, it should be those two guys.

Another helpful aspect Darnold will encounter in Minnesota is the electric receiving group, highlighted by Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison. Whenever a passer throws the ball in their direction, there’s a good chance something good will happen. Kelce offered some advice to Darnold.

Shout out to Darnold over there. Sammy getting paid and getting an opportunity. Dude, find T.J. [Hockenson]. Hockey, Hockenson’s gonna take you to the promised land, Sam. You find that tight end – 87.

Hockenson is in danger of missing the first few games of the season as he is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Week 16 when Lions cornerback Kerby Joseph tackled his knee. The scary injury ended his season prematurely. Before the incident, Hockenson was on pace to set a franchise record for tight ends in receiving yards. In 25 games as a Viking, Hockenson caught 155 passes for 1,479 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

Jason Kelce also mentioned that Darnold will benefit from O’Connell’s system as he learned a comparable one last year when he backed up Brock Purdy in Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers offense.

The Vikings signed Darnold to a one-year $10 million contract, fully knowing that he wouldn’t be the long-term solution. They have since made a move to acquire more draft capital in this year’s draft which will help them get one of the top passers.

That doesn’t mean Darnold won’t start but competition is on the way. If he can earn playing time over the incoming rookie and look like a serviceable quarterback, he will get a chance somewhere else in 2025. It will be by far Darnold’s best opportunity in his career.

Helping Darnold play well would buy the rookie time to develop behind him — time Darnold never had.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt