Sam Darnold’s Contract Details with the Vikings Have Been Revealed

Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates after a play during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings watched their six-year starting QB Kirk Cousins walk in free agency on Monday.

Cousins signed a new four-year deal worth a whopping $180 million with the Atlanta Falcons, and it officially forced the Vikings to enter the QB market. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah struck in the wee hours of Tuesday morning by signing Sam Darnold to a one-year $10 million deal.

However, at the time of the deal, it remained uncertain as to how much of that $10 million would hit the books in 2024. As of Wednesday morning, the contract details for Darnold have been revealed.

Sam Darnold’s Contract Structure with the Vikings

Sam Darnold
Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) look on during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The contract details were reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, who tweeted them out. Darnold’s $10 million for 2024 breaks down like this:

  • $6.25 million signing bonus
  • $2.5M base salary (guaranteed)
  • $1M in per-game active bonuses
  • $250K workout bonus

Essentially, while some may have been expecting to this contract to be based heavily on incentives, it is not formatted that way. Darnold will get $6.25 million when he signs the deal, and another $2.5 million in guaranteed money throughout the season. The only true incentives here lie in his per-game active bonuses and his workout bonus, which make up $1.25 million of the $10 million deal.

As a result, it appears that the Vikings’ plan for Darnold (at least, as of agreeing upon the deal) is to have him as their QB1 for the 2024 season.

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

This plan of attack does make some sense. Of course, the Vikings are very likely to be active in the draft to try and land their QB of the future. However, that rookie will most likely need (or at least greatly benefit from) a year to develop and learn the offense before being thrown into the fire.

Darnold is a player who could potentially captain the waters in the meantime. Other than this past season in San Francisco, this Vikings team is easily the most talented group he’s every played with in his NFL career, and if nothing else, he does have plenty of experience as a starter.

Over his six seasons in the NFL, Darnold has started 56 games and has thrown for 12,064 yards, 63 TDs and 57 interceptions while completing 59.7% of his passes. However, he spent the first five of those seasons trying to keep sinking ships afloat in the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws against the Denver Broncos in the first half of a NFL game at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford. Nfl Jets Broncos

Darnold certainly hasn’t been one of the more productive quarterbacks in the NFL, particularly for a former third overall pick, but perhaps this is the exact situation that the QB needed in order to resurrect his career. Keep in mind as well, Darnold will only turn 27 years old in June.

He is about nine months older than Jaren Hall.

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 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.