Potential New Idea for Vikings QB Name-Dropped by Reporter

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The Minnesota Vikings have employed quarterback Kirk Cousins for six seasons, but the relationship might end soon. Cousins will enter the free agent market on Monday when the legal tampering window opens. A potential new deal with other clubs can be signed on Wednesday, and he could extend his contract with the Vikings at any point.

Potential New Idea for Vikings QB Name-Dropped by Reporter

Vikings QB Name-Dropped by Reporter
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Many quarterbacks have been linked in mock drafts and various offseason theories. Everyone wants to guess which team ends up with which quarterback. Trey Lance, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, and Gardner Minshew are just four names that have surfaced over the last two months.

Ian Rapoport from NFL Network is usually plugged in pretty well and rarely reports anything without having at least heard about it from someone. He mentioned Sam Darnold as a successor for the potentially departing veteran Cousins:

Wherever Kirk Cousins lands will have wide-ranging ramifications. Let’s say Cousins goes to the Falcons and the Vikings need a quarterback, could they be a team, let’s say potentially someone like Sam Darnold would be a possibility there.

Ian Rapoport
Sam Darnold & Danielle Hunter
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Sam Darnold is quite an interesting player. He has some talent, which is why he was drafted with the third overall pick, and many draft pundits actually expected him to go first overall in the loaded 2018 draft class.

However, there’s a reason why he is available at age 26. His talent simply hasn’t translated to the NFL so far. The former USC standout passer was drafted by the Jets, a place where QB prospects never pan out. A terrible offensive line, questionable weapons, and suspect coaching were blamed for many of his struggles.

After three seasons, the Carolina Panthers acquired him for a second, fourth, and sixth-rounder. A disappointing 2021 season was why the Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield. But Mayfield left halfway through the season, and Darnold received some playing time. After two years in Carolina and the end of his rookie contract, the signal-caller signed in San Francisco to compete with Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. He ultimately finished second in that battle and became Purdy’s backup.

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In six seasons in the NFL, Darnold has started 56 games and thrown for 12,064 yards, 63 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions. He has added 13 scores and 760 yards on the ground.

Darnold’s biggest problem is his tendency to throw interceptions. He has the arm talent to make all the throws but doesn’t quite know when to pull the trigger.

One thing that makes him somewhat intriguing for the Vikings is that he sat for a year, learning from elite offensive mind Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, who might have helped him in some capacity. He has also never had good surroundings around him. Throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson while receiving the play calls from Kevin O’Connell would undoubtedly be a different story.

Mock Draft Reveals Splashy
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The Vikings could land the passer for cheap money to start until they find the next guy. He has potential, but entering the season with him as the only solution would be foolish. Adding a QB in the draft is paramount.

At this stage in his career, Darnold is only a bridge quarterback, someone who can play until a rookie is ready to step onto the field. Because all rookies develop differently, that could be immediately or late in the season, and that’s why most teams sign a veteran to keep him off the field until he is truly prepared.

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Josh McCown, who was added to the coaching staff as the new quarterback coach, was under contract with the Jets in 2018, Darnold’s rookie year. He could continue his mentorship.

It might be fun to speculate about the next Vikings QB, but if Cousins isn’t returning, a rookie is the only passer fans would remotely look forward to. Darnold could possess some untapped potential, but after six seasons, some of that should’ve already been showcased to warrant any confidence, and it is a breakout season.

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