Former Viking Pumps Brakes on J.J. McCarthy’s Start Date

new qb
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Folks might just have to use some patience.

Former Viking Pumps Brakes on J.J. McCarthy’s Start Date

That’s the word from former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber, who currently works as a Vikings sideline reporter and KFAN contributor. He’s cautioning patience for J.J. McCarthy’s emergence to QB1 after fans have spent the last three weeks debating when the young signal-caller will take the reins.

McCarthy
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“I think most likely, looking at the schedule, I wouldn’t expect to see McCarthy, all things being equal, no injuries, all that other stuff. I don’t expect to see him until about December 1st,” Leber said on KFAN this week.

Minnesota’s 2024 schedule was released on Wednesday night, sending fans to the internet for clues about when the rookie could see the big stage. Here’s the schedule:

  • Week 1 — at New York Giants
  • Week 2 — vs. San Francisco 49ers
  • Week 3 — vs. Houston Texans
  • Week 4 — at Green Bay Packers
  • Week 5 — vs. New York Jets (London)
  • Week 6 — Bye
  • Week 7 — vs. Detroit Lions
  • Week 8 — at Los Angeles Rams (TNF)
  • Week 9 — vs. Indianapolis Colts
  • Week 10 — at Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Week 11 — at Tennessee Titans
  • Week 12 — at Chicago Bears
  • Week 13 — vs. Arizona Cardinals
  • Week 14 — vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Week 15 — vs. Chicago Bears (MNF)
  • Week 16 — at Seattle Seahawks
  • Week 17 — vs. Green Bay Packers
  • Week 18 — at Detroit Lions
Vikings LB Weighs
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Many settled on after the Week 6 bye for a natural pivot to McCarthy, with the assumption that newcomer quarterback Sam Darnold will serve as QB1 in the meantime. In reality, it’s only a matter of time until McCarthy fully takes over, but most believe Darnold will act as a patchover option.

Per Leber, though, Week 13 at home versus the Cardinals could be the soonest realistic swap to McCarthy. That would give the 21-year-old six games of regular season action, enough to wet his beak as a rookie and prepare folks’ appetites for 2025.

New Starters
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ESPN’s Kevin Seifert explained on April 26th about the Vikings’ plan for McCarthy, “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.”

Those benchmarks could be checked off the list this summer — or not at all in 2024. That’s the grandest Vikings-themed mystery at the moment.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports.

According to oddsmakers, Minnesota is only slated to win about six or seven games this season, no matter the quarterback’s identity.


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 MIN 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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