Kevin O’Connell confident about Sam Darnold’s abilities to lead the Vikings despite team’s inclination of drafting a QB

Vikings head coach claimed that Sam Darnold improved significantly by the end of his tenure at Carolina Panthers.


Kevin O’Connell confident about Sam Darnold’s abilities to lead the Vikings despite team’s inclination of drafting a QB

Kevin O’Connell and Sam Darnold (Via Imago)

Ever since the departure of star quarterback Kirk Cousins, there has been a lot of debate about who would lead the Minnesota Vikings’ offense next season. If the 2024 season has to begin today, the quarterback who would lead the Vikings will be Sam Darnold.

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But it may change a month later if the franchise went ahead with drafting their future franchise QB in the NFL Draft. Regardless of what many believe, head coach Kevin O’Connell sure is confident about Darnold leading the team as a successor to Cousins

It appears that O’Connell had observed Darnold before signing him as he claimed the quarterback improved significantly by the end of his tenure at Carolina Panthers and then, one year working under Kyle Shanahan at San Francisco 49ers– the year they advanced to the Super Bowl. 

The Viking head coach said on NFL Network:

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I think his [Sam Darnold] best football is ahead of him because of how he’s handled the last couple of years. Whether it’s going 4-2 down the stretch in Carolina in ’22, or when you turn on the tape of his work in San Francisco, you can tell Kyle, Brian Griese, they did a great job in the next phase of his career. Fundamentals, techniques, things that you look for to see growth. I’m excited to get going with Sam.
Kevin O’Connell said

The Vikings signed Darnold earlier this offseason, by offering him a lucrative one-year contract deal worth $10 million. Although it wouldn’t be easy filling Cousins’ shoes, the team is confident in Darnold taking forward. 

Sam Darnold aside, a look into Vikings’ trade prospects and strategy for top picks

The Vikings have the No. 11 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, which means if extended to a stretch they might get the options of Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, and JJ McCarthy among the top prospects. But even for them, the franchise would have to consider the option of trading the pick. 

The New England Patriots having the third overall pick have stated that they are up for the conversation of trade. If the Vikings go ahead with that, it would cost them No. 11 and 23 along with first-round picks of the 2025 NFL Draft. 

Kevin O' Connell
Minnesota Vikings’ head coach Kevin O’Connell (via Imago)

The other options for trade are the Arizona Cardinals having the No. 4 pick and Los Angeles Chargers with the No. 5 pick. But given O’Connell’s confidence in Darnold, Minnesota’s moves for the NFL Draft are yet to be determined. 

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