Kevin O’Connell expresses belief in new QB Sam Darnold

Earlier this month, the Minnesota Vikings moved to fill the void left by Kirk Cousins in part by signing quarterback Sam Darnold to a one-year deal. While it’s been made pretty clear — through various Vikings’ brass’ comments along with the contract structure itself — that Darnold is seen as a bridge quarterback, at least one person within the Vikings organization believes Darnold can give the team some quality play in that time.

Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell stated in an interview with NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero, Ian Rapoport, and Mike Garafolo that be believes that Darnold’s “best football is ahead of him”, specifically pointing to how he went 4-2 down the stretch with the Carolina Panthers in 2021.

O’Connell also pointed to Darnold’s work with the San Francisco 49ers and how it’s clear to him that Darnold has put in a lot of work to make progressions as a quarterback. O’Connell believes that the staff with the Vikings can “pick up” where Darnold left of in San Francisco and continue to develop him.

Darnold was a top-5 pick of the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft and spent four years as the starter in New York before landing with the Panthers and then 49ers, in mostly back-up roles. Now Darnold finds himself in Minnesota and is likely going to be the starter heading into the early part of the season while a rookie gets acclimated to the system and league.

Whether or not Darnold starts the entire season remains to be seen, but it’s clear he has at least one person in his corner to start his tenure.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire