Vikings Get Look at Some Teams Making Rookies Work

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson (5) scores a touchdown during fourth quarter game action against the Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts, on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

With the release of the 2024 NFL schedule, the Minnesota Vikings now know their opponents and the times they will see each other.

Vikings Get Look at Some Teams Making Rookies Work

Squaring off against both the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts within the first ten weeks of the season, Kevin O’Connell will have a front-row seat as to how he hopes J.J. McCarthy will play out.

Last season, the Houston Texans swung big by drafting C.J. Stroud, and so did the Indianapolis Colts when selecting Anthony Richardson. Unfortunately, the latter got injured just four games into his rookie season, but the early returns suggested he was a dynamic talent who was going to be exceptionally fun to watch at the highest level.

rookies
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Stroud went down a different path for the Texans, starting 15 games and earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He helped elevate both Tank Dell and Nico Collins. He was a catalyst for a team that was expected to go nowhere, ultimately making the playoffs and winning their division. To suggest he was anything but the most successful rookie quarterback we have seen in recent memory would be putting it lightly.

Now, the Vikings have a blueprint.

Silhouetted against a large window, Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) makes a pass during the 2023 NFL Pro Day held at Condron Family Indoor Practice Facility in Gainesville, FL, on Thursday, March 30, 2023. Richardson will meet with six NFL teams. They are the Panthers, Colts, Titans, Raiders, Falcons and Ravens. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

J.J. McCarthy isn’t expected to start in Week 1 for the Minnesota Vikings, and even Week 3 against the Texans seems lofty, but it could play out if everything breaks right. Whether he is under center or not, a case study on both of the successful quarterbacks from last season’s draft is worth partaking in, and McCarthy blossoming into even a shred of Stroud in year one would set up Minnesota for a great future.

Sam Darnold is going to help contribute to Minnesota’s developmental process for their youngster. Kevin O’Connell doesn’t have the same quarterback as either Stroud or Richardson, but he has a very moldable piece that should be expected to work within his system. The heights he can reach are maybe only held down by the level of expectations set for him.

Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

Brian Flores will have his hands full with dynamic offenses presented by both the Texans and Colts. If the Vikings are going to win either of those games or keep the opposition in check, then it will come down to having a well-reasoned game plan for each of their quarterbacks. Having to plan for McCarthy in the future is something the Vikings hope will remain in the minds of their foes.


Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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