Unlikely Source Pounds the Table for Sam Darnold

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It might be a fantasy football tweet, but it applies to the Minnesota Vikings, nevertheless.

Unlikely Source Pounds the Table for Sam Darnold

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert, an employee at the Sleeper fantasy football app, pounded the table for Sam Darnold this week, claiming the journeyman signal-caller would climb to new heights in 2024.

pounds the table
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Benkert tweeted Wednesday, about 10 weeks before the start of the NFL’s regular season: “If Sam Darnold starts every game for the Vikings, he will throw for more yards than Caleb Williams this season. Save this tweet.”

Of course, predicting a veteran quarterback will throw more yards than a rookie isn’t groundbreaking, but the enthusiasm variance between Darnold and Williams, at least in June 2024, is vast. Williams is the NFL’s next big thing for the Chicago Bears, while Darnold has one more shot — with the Vikings, no less — to prove his career isn’t a bust.

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And the tweet was unsolicited. It felt more pro-Darnold than anti-Williams.

Darnold took over in March for Kirk Cousins, who left for the money-filled pastures of the Atlanta Falcons. Cousins earned a four-year, $180 million contract from the Falcons, and as a patchover quarterback, Darnold signed in Minnesota for one year and $10 million. About six weeks later, the Vikings drafted J.J. McCarthy to lead life after Cousins, though Darnold will probably start immediately in 2024.

Sam Darnold
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It’s worth noting that Darnold has never thrown more than 3,024 passing yards in a season — that was five years ago — so he’ll either set his career high per the Benkert prediction, or Williams will severely underperform his draft scouting report. Choose your fighter.

Last week, Vikings safety Camryn Bynum — who should have decent knowledge of the situation — insisted that Minnesota has an honest-to-goodness summer quarterback battle on its hands. “Having the two new quarterbacks, it’s fun being able to play against them and see what they bring to the table. They’re both looking really good,” Bynum told NFL Network on June 21st. “It’s exciting to see them compete. They’re both looking good, so I can’t put one over the other. I just say they both look ready. Whatever coaches decide, I trust them and their decision.”

Vikings QB
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Head coach Kevin O’Connell said at minicamp a couple of weeks ago that QB1 is Darnold’s job to lose: “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.”

Benkert, on the other hand, joined the NFL in 2018 and bounced around to three teams before latching onto Sleeper for analysis. He threw for 181 yards in the XFL last year.

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 OverTheCap.com.