Kevin O'Connell Says Sam Darnold Has Early Lead in Vikings' Quarterback Race

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks to the media at the 2024 NFL Combine at Indiana Convention Center.
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks to the media at the 2024 NFL Combine at Indiana Convention Center. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Minnesota Vikings have a choice to make at the quarterback position this offseason.

Their battle is a classic rookie-veteran showdown. On the one hand, the Vikings have newcomer J.J. McCarthy, the 10th pick in April's NFL draft. On the other hand, Minnesota also has experienced ex-blue-chip draft pick Sam Darnold.

So far, according to Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell, one signal-caller has gained a clear advantage.

“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,” O’Connell told reporters Wednesday, via Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.

Darnold saw action in 10 games for the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers last year, throwing two touchdowns against one interception. McCarthy led Michigan to the national championship in 2023 and finished 10th in the Heisman voting.

Minnesota is scheduled to open its season against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .