The Vikings wasted little time stabilizing their quarterback depth following Monday’s franchise-altering development.

The Kirk Cousins era in Minnesota is over, as the veteran signal-caller is set to join the Atlanta Falcons on a four-year deal. But less than 24 hours after the blockbuster agreement, the Vikings eased the blow of Cousins’ exit by coming to terms with Sam Darnold, according to multiple reports.

Darnold hasn’t lived up to expectations since he was drafted third overall in 2018. But in the 26-year-old’s defense, he spent the first five years of his NFL career with the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers — two of the league’s most dysfunctional franchises. Darnold was with the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers in 2023, and a full season learning from offensive guru Kyle Shanahan could serve the Vikings well.

Of course, there’s no guarantee Darnold will be Minnesota’s Week 1 starter in 2024. With the 11th overall pick and Cousins no longer in the picture, the Vikings feel like a prime candidate to trade up in next month’s NFL draft. Late last month, a Minnesota reporter claimed the team “planted a seed” with the New England Patriots at this year’s Senior Bowl about potentially acquiring the No. 3 selection.

Story continues below advertisement

But if it does prove to be Darnold, the Vikings would be rolling with a QB who’s been “the guy” before. The USC product started 11-plus games in his first four NFL seasons.

Featured image via Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports Images