Sam Darnold To Open Training Camp As Vikings’ Starter

The Vikings are set to look very different under center in 2024. After watching Kirk Cousins go down with a season-ending injury last year, Minnesota was forced to use a mixture of Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall to finish the season. With Cousins in Atlanta now and Dobbs now a backup in San Francisco, the Vikings will be looking at two new faces atop the depth chart.

The team essentially exchanged Dobbs for former 49ers backup quarterback Sam Darnold who failed to start more than one game for the first time in his six-year career last season. Darnold was expected to return to a starting role in his replacement of Cousins, being designated as the new QB1 over the incumbent Mullens and Hall. That was, of course, barring any further additions to the room in the offseason.

The Vikings were not in a position to go after one of the top three quarterbacks in the 11th draft slot. Still, many saw the organization as one of the teams likely to go after a passer in the draft, but nobody was quite sure what lengths the team would go to in order to acquire one. Minnesota was lucky enough to see the fourth quarterback projected to come off the board start to slide down closer and closer to their pick but needed to avoid getting scooped and traded up one spot in order to select Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy at No. 10 overall.

Rarely these days are quarterbacks drafted in the top 10 draft picks without an expectation that they will start right away, but it appears that is the case for now. According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, head coach Kevin O’Connell has announced that Darnold, and not McCarthy, will begin training camp as the starting quarterback.

Darnold had been running as QB1 through organized team activities this spring, and O’Connell saw no reason to change things up quite yet. Right now, McCarthy has reportedly been focusing more on individual improvement than on competition with Darnold. While McCarthy could certainly get an opportunity to win the job at the end of the summer, O’Connell stopped short of saying anything more than that he is planning for training camp to be “competitive” at many positions.

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