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Report: Vikings Signing Sam Darnold to One-Year Deal

Darnold had been rumored to be the Vikings' main interest for their bridge QB spot.
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The Vikings are signing former 49ers, Panthers, and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold to a one-year, $10 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapaport. After losing Kirk Cousins to the Falcons on Monday, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell are adding Darnold to be their veteran bridge QB in 2024.

This move gives the Vikings a player with some theoretical post-hype upside who can compete to be their Week 1 starter. Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, and the arm talent that got him drafted that highly out of USC still exists to some degree. The 6'3", 225-pound QB turns 27 in June.

Darnold flopped with the Jets, going 13-25 as a starter with a 78.6 passer rating and a 45-39 touchdown to interception ratio. One of his teammates in New York was Josh McCown, who was recently hired as the Vikings' quarterbacks coach. Darnold then spent two seasons with the Panthers, where he was similarly mediocre. However, the best stretch of his career did come in 2022, when he went 4-2 for Carolina with seven touchdown passes, three picks, and a career-high 92.6 passer rating.

Last year, Darnold served as Brock Purdy's backup with the 49ers, where he presumably learned quite a bit under Kyle Shanahan.

Clearly, the Vikings believe Darnold has a chance to follow in the footsteps of players like Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield and resurrect his career after a slow start. If there was ever a place for him to do it, Minnesota feels like a great fit due to the offensive infrastructure that's in place. The Vikings have O'Connell and McCown as coaches, an elite pass-catching corps (Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson), and two outstanding tackles bookending their offensive line. 

The plan, one imagines, is for the Vikings to pair Darnold and Nick Mullens with a first-round rookie quarterback in April's draft — perhaps one they trade up to select. If that player is ready to play right away, then that's great. If not, Darnold will be an option to start in the meantime while the rookie develops.

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