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    Vikings HC makes telling comments about Sam Darnold, J.J. McCarthy competition

    Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell indicated to Adam Schein of SiriusXM’s “Mad Dog Sports Radio” that veteran Sam Darnold has a significant advantage over rookie J.J. McCarthy regarding a quarterback competition that may already be settled.

    “I think he’s learned a lot along the way and I’m really excited about the time in his career in which we’re getting him in our building,” O’Connell said about Darnold, per Kevin Patra of the NFL’s website. “I feel strongly about his ability to continue his, even at this point in his career, continue his development and what can he become within playing quarterback in our offense with the type of players we have around him, all well knowing that we’re going to have a competitive environment with J.J. McCarthy, with (backups) Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall.”

    The third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Darnold failed to cement himself as a long-term answer at the position during stints with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers. He later received positive reviews for his work as a backup with the San Francisco 49ers last season. He signed a one-year, $10M deal with the Vikings in March before they moved up a single spot in this year’s draft order to take McCarthy.

    Kevin Seifert of ESPN and Alec Lewis of The Athletic are among those who have said that Darnold seems on track to start Minnesota’s regular-season opener at the New York Giants on Sept. 8. Patra mentioned that “the Vikings have gone out of their way since the draft to avoid putting pressure on McCarthy — something new QB coach Josh McCown learned first-hand with (Carolina Panthers quarterback) Bryce Young last year.”

    McCown touched upon that very subject in May.

    “I really feel like our job is to build the best possible environment that we can, coach at a really high level, have a really structured plan to where these guys know exactly what the expectations are every day, and then go out and compete and just go play football,” O’Connell continued.

    While O’Connell added that his quarterbacks will “compete it out every day and see kind of where the chips fall” during training camp and the preseason, it sounds like the starting job is Darnold’s to lose heading into the summer. 



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