NFL Insider Cautions Against Buying Into Vikings’ Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold, Minnesota Vikings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings signed quarterback Sam Darnold in free agency, and just about everyone expected him to serve either as a bridge starter or a backup in 2024.

Then, the Vikings selected J.J. McCarthy with the 10th overall pick of the NFL Draft, and the consensus moved to McCarty being the likely starter.

However, early reports out of Vikings camp indicate otherwise.

Apparently, Darnold has looked great early on, which as many feeling that he will end up being Minnesota’s starting signal-caller once the season opens in September.

But Ian Rapoport of NFL media isn’t buying into Darnold just yet.

“He is going to look good, this is something he has done his entire career,” Rapoport said during an appearance on The Insiders. “When it’s the spring, when it’s the preseason or when he has been unbothered he has looked excellent. It’s really a matter of when he gets in games, is he the same quarterback when it doesn’t all go perfectly?”

Of course, Darnold was originally selected by the New York Jets with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, but lasted just three seasons with the Jets before being traded to the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers then gave Darnold a chance to start, but gave up on him after two years. He proceeded to spend the 2023 campaign as Brock Purdy’s backup with the San Francisco 49ers.

Rapoport did say, however, that he thinks Darnold does have a great shot of beating out McCarthy. He just isn’t sure how long he will remain under center for if he does.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Darnold takes the first snap and continues to roll with it,” Rapoport said. “But how long can he roll with it with J.J. McCarthy sitting there waiting with all the talent he has?”

Rolling with Darnold over McCarthy may make sense to start the season. The last thing the Vikings want to do is throw McCarthy to the wolves right off the bat and risk damaging him long term.

On the other side of the coin, if Minnesota feels that McCarthy is ready to handle the rigors of the NFL, there is no reason not to go with him in Week 1.

It’s not like McCarthy doesn’t have weapons at his disposal, either, as the Vikings have Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at wide receiver.

Regardless, we’ll see if Sam Darnold ends up getting a shot next season.

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