A Bridge QB Could Be in the Cards for the Vikings in 2024

Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; A Minnesota Vikings helmet sits idle on the field before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, there have been two main discussions for the Vikings in regard to their QB position in 2024.

Those revolve around either signing Kirk Cousins to another contract (something that the Vikings have expressed an interest in), or they could select a quarterback in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. However, another (albeit less popular) option certainly exists. That option revolves around signing a bridge QB for this upcoming season.

A Bridge QB Could Be in the Cards for Vikings

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell reacts during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During Sunday morning’s episode of NFL Insiders on NFL Network, Tom Pelissero alluded to this idea, saying:

“[The Vikings] would like to re-sign Kirk Cousins, who is set to become a free agent in March, but my anticipation is Cousins will have a strong market even at age-35 coming off a torn Achilles. […] If in fact the price tag goes too high, the Vikings likely would pursue a more economical veteran. One guy that’s a possibility? Sam Darnold, the 49ers current backup.”

After being selected with the third overall pick back in 2018 by the New York Jets, Darnold has had a very tumultuous career to this point. The QB spent three seasons in New York, going 13-25 as a starter, and completing 59.8% of his passes for 8097 yards, 45 TDs, and 39 interceptions.

Bridge QB
Jan 9, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Following that three-year stint in New York, Darnold was traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2021, and he spent two seasons there, starting 17 games and going 8-9. He completed 59.5% of his passes for 3670 yards, 16 TDs, and 16 interceptions. He then signed with the 49ers to be Brock Purdy’s backup this season.

Darnold certainly wouldn’t be a popular option among Vikings fans, but the argument in favor of the former Jet could be the fact that he is still a relatively young player (he turns 27 in June), and the Vikings would absolutely be the best offense he’s ever played in outside of this past season in San Francisco. Perhaps Minnesota can be a Geno Smith/Seahawks situation for Darnold to resurrect his career.

The former third overall pick started one game for San Francisco this season, throwing for 189 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 18 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Oct 10, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles with the ball during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the day, Darnold certainly wouldn’t be the only “bridge” option for the Vikings in 2024, either. For example, someone like Gardner Minshew could come in and lead the Vikings offense as an intriguing semi-mobile quarterback with good arm talent.

This past season, Minshew started 13 games for the Colts and led them to a 7-6 record in those games after Anthony Richardson went down with an injury. He completed 62.2% of his passes for 3305 yards, 16 TDs, and nine interceptions.

This option certainly doesn’t mean the Vikings won’t draft a QB this spring, either. It simply would be a backup plan in case Cousins were to bolt, thus allowing the Vikings to bring in a seasoned veteran and allow whichever rookie QB they select to sit behind that veteran for awhile before jumping into the starting role.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.