Sam Darnold's stats against the NFC North are actually really impressive

Say what you want about the new Vikings QB, but he has dominated the NFC North.

Minnesota Vikings, Sam Darnold
Minnesota Vikings, Sam Darnold / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The doors of NFL free agency were officially blown off when the Minnesota Vikings saw their former quarterback, Kirk Cousins, sign a massive contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

It was the end of an era. Officially, the Vikings would be in the market for a new starting quarterback going forward. And, while many believe they will ultimately find their franchise quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft, Minnesota moved quickly to sign a veteran to, at the very least, be a bridge this coming season.

The Vikings, of course, signed former first-round pick Sam Darnold to a 1-year, $10 million contract.

Darnold spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers, backing up Brock Purdy and studying beneath head coach Kyle Shanahan. Some might argue that, if a relatively young quarterback was trying to resurrect his career, playing under Shanahan might be your best move. We'll see if Shanahan's knowledge allowed Darnold to take another step.

If he ends up starting the season, Week 1, Darnold might not actually be a bad option for the Vikings. At least, the guy has played well against the NFC North over the length of his career.

Darnold's most notable game against an NFC North squad came back in December of 2018 where he was still with the Jets, playing in a game against the Packers. That contest saw Darnold throw for a whopping 341 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Now, the Jets ultimately lost the game. But, Darnold's play was quite impressive on that day.

What are the Vikings' draft plans after signing Sam Darnold?

Minnesota owns the no. 11 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and at that stage, we will likely have seen the top three quarterbacks taken, with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels presumably going within the top five picks.

But after those three, it's anyone's guess as to when the next quarterback gets taken. The vast majority seem to believe it's going to be J.J. McCarthy next off the board, but where he's taken has a lot of folks split.

Could he be there at no. 11 for the Vikings? It's very possible. The Giants sit at pick no. 6, but they still have Daniel Jones on a massive contract and recently signed Drew Lock. The Falcons, at no. 8, now have Cousins. Those are the only two teams that likely would have challenged Minnesota in finding the fourth quarterback off the board.

Other possibilities at quarterback include Washington's Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon's Bo Nix, but the opinions on those two are very wide in variety. Some have them as first-round prospects, while others are more set on a second or even third-round grade.

It's safe to say that, barring a huge trade into the top three or four picks, the Vikings will probably start the season with Darnold under center. But, for how long? We shall see.