Former Pro Bowler Endorses Vikings QB as Next Jared Goff: ‘Perfect Position’

Don’t forget about Minnesota Vikings QB Sam Darnold.

Amid the excitement around Vikings rookie first-round quarterback J.J. McCarthy, Darnold has been relegated to a virtual afterthought. But there is a good chance he is under center when Week 1 rolls around.

He could parlay the opportunity into a larger payday like some of his fellow failed first-round quarterbacks have.

“I wonder who this year’s Jared Goff is who’s this year. I feel like Baker [Mayfield] got himself into that world last year. He got paid, he turned it around. I wonder if it’s Sam Darnold,” Kay Adams said on “Up & Adams” on May 14. “Hear me out: [Jordan] Addison, Justin Jefferson, [Head Coach] Kevin O’Connell, high-flying offense. I know that that division’s better but could Sam darnold turn it around.”

Mayfield signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023.

He inked a four-year, $100 million contract this offseason, with $50 million in guarantees. This was after leading the Bucs to the playoffs.

The Detroit Lions acquired Goff in the package sending Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. Goff signed a four-year, $212 million contract extension this offseason. The Lions were runners-up for the NFC crown last season.

“Now you’re speaking my language,” three-time Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece told Adams. “Because you’re talking about a guy who’s in the perfect position to do that. He has really good weapons around him and he can take advantage of that by just simply getting them the ball. Making the game easy, being smart about it, protecting the ball.

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Sam Darnold to Ronnie Bell for the TD.

📺: #BALvsSF on ABC
📱: Stream on #NFLPlus https://t.co/pkwa8SXokx pic.twitter.com/HBq4PMG6yi

— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2023

“That’s where Jared Goff started off. He started off protecting the football, bonding with his teammates, getting his playmakers the ball, and the rest becomes history.”

Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell: Sam Darnold’s ‘Best Football Ahead of Him’

GettySam Darnold #14 of the San Francisco 49ers.

Darnold signed a one-year, $10 million contract in free agency this offseason. He arrives with a 21-35 record, 12,064 passing yards, 63 touchdowns, and 56 interceptions in his career.

He encouragingly went 4-2 as the Carolina Panthers starter in 2022, completing 58.7% of his throws for 1,143 yards, seven touchdowns, and three picks. Darnold also has familiarity with the offense coming from the San Francisco 49ers and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan.

That could give him a leg up over the Vikings’ other QBs.

“I think his best football is ahead of him because how he’s handled the last couple years,” O’Connell said on “The Insiders” on April 2. “When you turn on the tape of his work in San Francisco, you can tell – Kyle, Brian Griese – the kid’s did a great job in the next phase of his career.

“I think it’s going to be a really, really positive situation for Sam.”

J.J. McCarthy is Vikings QB of the Future

GettyJ.J. McCarthy #9 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Darnold has O’Connell’s confidence, which may matter more than anything else. But there were never any qualms from Vikings ownership about the franchise’s stance on the QB position ahead of the 2024 draft.

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“We love Sam Darnold. But when it comes to the quarterback’s position, it’s certainly critical,” co-owner Mark Wilf said during his appearance on “The Insiders” on March 25. “Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah] and Coach O’Connell, they’re working hard. We’ve got a plan and Sam Darnold’s part of it.

“We’re excited he’s in the building, and we’re excited we have two first-round picks. So we’ll see where it all goes. We have a lot of flexibility and we’ll see what happens.”

The Vikings didn’t just draft McCarthy, they traded up to do so. His time will come soon enough.

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