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Vikings' O'Connell: Darnold ahead of McCarthy in QB competition

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Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell says that quarterback Sam Darnold has an edge over first-round pick J.J. McCarthy at this point of the offseason.

"We haven't had to put out a depth chart or anything like that, but I would say Sam would be the guy I would look to (to start)," O'Connell said Wednesday, according to's Kevin Patra.

The Vikings signed Darnold to a one-year deal in free agency after he spent the 2023 campaign with the San Francisco 49ers. He completed 60.9% of his passes for 287 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in limited playing time behind starter Brock Purdy.

"At the quarterback position, look, we're really excited about Sam," O'Connell said on Mad Dog Sports Radio. "I had a lot of the same feelings that you did about Sam coming out, really kept a close eye on him throughout his quarterback journey and not all quarterback journeys are the same."

The New York Jets selected Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He's started 56 games across his career with the Jets, Carolina Panthers, and 49ers, throwing for 12,064 yards, 63 touchdowns, and 56 picks on 59.7% passing.

McCarthy, meanwhile, was the 10th overall pick in April's draft after winning a College Football Playoff National Championship with Michigan.

O'Connell said he knows it will be a "competitive environment" when McCarthy, Darnold, and Jaren Hall take the field for training camp reps in the coming months.

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