6 biggest Vikings needs after the first wave of free agency in 2024

Kevin O'Connell and Jaren Hall
Kevin O'Connell and Jaren Hall / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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Vikings need No. 2


Replacing Kirk Cousins will be more difficult than some people think. Now that Cousins has brought his talents to the "Hollywood of the South" to play for the Atlanta Falcons, the Minnesota Vikings will need to put a new quarterback behind center for the 2024 NFL season.

Minnesota's first move to address the quarterback solution was to head into free agency and sign Sam Darnold. Last season, Darnold acted as a backup and locker room leader for the 48ers as the world hopped on the Brock Purdy hype train.

It would be irresponsible to credit Purdy's success and development to Darnold, but it must have been a contributing factor to San Francisco reaching the Super Bowl last season before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The fan opinion of Darnold is not high. He had an unsuccessful time with the New York Jets after the USC product was selected No. 3 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and didn't fare any better after being traded to the Carolina Panthers.

Even though Darold has started 56 of his 66 NFL games played, Darnold was regulated to backup duties while others rose to fame around him. Despite his status in the league, he has a positive touchdown-to-interception ratio and has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes as a pro.

As it stands, Darnold is penciled in as the starter but there is bound to be another quarterback added to a locker room that includes Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall. The expectation surrounding the Vikings is that they will look to select one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Even if Minnesota lands their quarterback of the future, that doesn't mean the new arrival will be the quarterback of the present. If the young passer needs time before taking on a starting role, Sam Darnold will need to step in and lead the Vikings' offense until the time is right.

The Minnesota Vikings can't be looking at Sam Darnold as the long-term answer and have made moves to prepare for a big trade to move up at the draft. All these signs point to the team not being done when it comes to the quarterback position.