Bleacher Report Predicts Vikings QB1

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports | Nov 18, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) on the field against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

Who you got?

Bleacher Report Predicts Vikings QB1

That’s what Minnesota Vikings fans are asking each other about the team’s QB1 in September, a hot-button topic as the club is poised to nominate a starter later this summer. The battle will formally get underway at training camp and proceed through the preseason in August.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports | Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports.

The duel is between veteran Sam Darnold and rookie J.J. McCarthy. The caveat involves McCarthy’s inevitable takeover of the position, but many believe Darnold will take the baton to start 2024.

And Bleacher Report agrees. This week, the sports analysis website defined five NFL camp battles around the bend, and when it got to the Vikings, it opined on Darnold versus McCarthy — and predicted Darnold as the victor to take the first snap in 2024.

“Having played for Shanahan with the 49ers last season, Darnold should be able to hit the ground running faster with the Vikings than J.J. McCarthy this spring. That will be a significant advantage in OTAs as the rookie’s head will likely be spinning,” BR’s Matt Holder wrote. “Granted, McCarthy is the more talented player and clearly the one the organization trusts to be the future of the franchise. Once he masters the playbook, he should have no problem taking over as the team’s starter.”

Vegas Odds
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Vegas odds support BR’s pick, with Darnold as the frontrunner to win the job. McCarthy isn’t too far behind with +180 odds.

Holder added, “Unlike the previous quarterback discussion, neither player has an advantage regarding familiarity with the supporting cast. But Darnold’s experience as a veteran and in a similar offense gives him a significant leg up over McCarthy. Also, the rookie could use some technical refinement before he’s ready for the big stage. Barring any ghosts haunting Minnesota’s facilities, expect the veteran to win this battle to begin the season.”

Minnesota Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy at the first day of rookie minicamp on May 10th, 2024, in Eagan, Minnesota. TCO Performance Center. McCarthy was drafted by the Vikings with the 10th overall pick on April 25th, 2024, in Detroit.

Right after the draft, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert mentioned a checklist that would be used in application to McCarthy’s game-readiness. “The Vikings will follow an individualized development plan they created for each of the quarterbacks they considered drafting, one that requires McCarthy to hit specific benchmarks and gives coach Kevin O’Connell full authority to make the timing decision,” ESPN’s Kevin Seifert explained on April 26th.

Around the same time, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said about McCarthy’s upcoming development, “A lot of times when we go back over history and say, ‘These quarterbacks have missed,’ there’s a lot of hands that are dirty in that regard. And we’re going to make sure that our hands are clean and give him the best opportunity he can to be the best player he can be in this offense.”

Sam Darnold
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

Unless McCarthy performs otherworldly this summer, folks should expect Darnold to start Week 1 at the New York Giants.

Vikings OTAs continue on Monday until the end of the month, and mandatory minicamp begins on June 4th.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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