Sam Darnold reportedly wowing at Vikings spring practices

"Everything that I have heard so far is that Sam Darnold has had a really good spring, he's dialed in."
Sam Darnold throwing at Vikings OTAs
Sam Darnold throwing at Vikings OTAs / Andy Kenutis/Minnesota Vikings
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New Vikings quarterback Sam Darnold is reportedly leaving quite the impression early on in his tenure in Minnesota.

Darnold, 26, joined the Vikings this offseason after Kirk Cousins left for the Falcons. The former third overall pick is now on his fourth team since entering the league in 2018. Stints with the Jets and Panthers both ended in failure while a season as the backup in San Francisco in 2023 seems to have rejuvenated his career.

It's early, but the idea of a QB competition between Darnold rookie J.J. McCarthy may be premature.

"Everything that I have heard so far is that Sam Darnold has had a really good spring, he's dialed in," said NFL Network's Tom Pelissero on Tuesday's episode of The Insiders. "He is talented, he was the third overall pick back in 2018. He's got a huge arm, can make plays. It's just been about the consistency, limiting those types of really bad plays that can completely blow up a game."

Darnold has reportedly been taking a majority of the first-team snaps during Vikings OTAs while McCarthy, the tenth overall pick in the draft by Minnesota, adapts to life in the NFL.

Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell has refused to say when McCarthy could take over, choosing instead to remain patient with the 21-year-old's development. The patience the team is leaning into with McCarthy likely means Darnold has a good shot of being the starting QB Week 1 against the Giants.

Purple Insider's Matthew Coller also had high praise for the early returns on Darnold in a recent mailbag when he was asked to compare Darnold and McCarthy.

"They definitely have similar velocity on the ball. Darnold is more refined with his throwing. There’s more touch on the ball and it comes out pretty effortlessly. Darnold’s ability to make throws without a good platform can really wow you," Coller wrote. "He doesn’t need space or momentum or even a wind up to put velo on the ball. I don’t see that exactly with McCarthy, though when he’s on the move or stepping into throws they are just as fast."

Jonathan Harrison