NFL Insider Has Terrible Odds for Vikings Rookie

Vikings QB
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) takes a moment to watch TCU celebrate after Michigan lost, 51-45 at the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Are you in the camp that would like to see Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy start right away in 2024?

NFL Insider Has Terrible Odds for Vikings Rookie

It probably won’t happen.

Rookie QB
Michigan quarterback J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

That’s the word from and Albert Breer, who wrote last week that McCarthy has less than 10% odds of becoming the starter for Week 1. Instead, Minnesota has veteran passer Sam Darnold on deck for QB1 duty, and barring something wild in July and August, the job evidently belongs to Darnold.

Via’s mailbag, a Vikings fan asked Breer for the odds of McCarthy’s QB1 ownership in Week 1, and Breer replied, “I’d say less than 10%.”

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Georgia during the second half of the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

“More so, it’s about Kevin O’Connell and Sam Darnold. The former put together a detailed, step-by-step development plan for McCarthy that’ll require the quarterback to hit certain milestones before the team presses him into real action,” Breer continued. “The latter had a really good spring, too, delivering on how the Minnesota Vikings projected him, as Darnold came from a year in Kyle Shanahan’s system with the San Francisco 49ers.”

Right after the draft, Vikings fans wondered if McCarthy would have the gumption to earn the job outright this summer. In fact, the discussion was widespread among the masses — Darnold or McCarthy? But with the regular season about 10 weeks away, most have accepted that Darnold will lead the charge in Week 1 at the New York Giants.

Vikings QB
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports.

Breer added, “And if you want to see what Minnesota sees in Darnold, go watch the fourth quarter of the Ravens’ rout of the Niners on Christmas night. Yes, it was garbage time. But what I saw, and what I know Minnesota saw, was a talented kid who came into the league raw suddenly playing faster and with much better rhythm than we’d seen in the past.”

More importantly than the 10% theory, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell all but announced Darnold as “the guy” at minicamp. O’Connell said, “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 based on the spring he’s had and, really, where he’s at in his career and his quarterback journey, and what he’s been able to do coming in and [hitting] the ground running and taking advantage of the competitive situation.”

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023. The Vikings had a quarterback debate off the bye week in 2023, and O’Connell announced incumbent starter Joshua Dobbs would play in Week 14 at the Las Vegas Raiders.

It’s almost as if Breer’s percentage theory was lifted right from O’Connell’s declaration.

The Vikings are slated to win about seven games in 2024, per sportsbooks.

No rookie quarterback has ever started a Week 1 game in Vikings history. If McCarthy shocks the world, he would be the first.

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).

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