Vegas Seems to Be Sleeping on the Vikings

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Coming off a down season, the Minnesota Vikings have been tabbed with just a 6.5-game win total from oddsmakers entering the 2024 season. While Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy aren’t Kirk Cousins, the sum of Kevin O’Connell’s parts may be better, and the win total seems too low.

Vegas Seems to Be Sleeping on the Vikings

When the Minnesota Vikings open their 2024 regular season in New York, it is all but expected that they would do so with veteran signal-caller Sam Darnold under center. He may not be Kirk Cousins, but he could also perform substantially better than he did with the New York Jets or Carolina Panthers. Given a real opportunity to succeed, a few wins is hardly unfathomable.

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.

If and when rookie signal caller J.J. McCarthy takes over, it will be because head coach Kevin O’Connell believes the former Michigan star is ready. Looking to develop the prospect, knowing the outcome will determine the future security of his job, McCarthy will only hit the field when it is believed he is ready to succeed.

The Vikings schedule sets up difficult out of the gate, but Minnesota has opportunities to grab some key victories. The Giants will be favored in Week 1, but only because they are the home team. Daniel Jones has been anything but a consistent quarterback, and if Ed Donatell’s Minnesota defense hadn’t gotten him paid, then the Giants probably wouldn’t employ him at all.

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Expecting Minnesota to get swept by the division is rather unlikely, as well. It’s fair to argue that the Detroit Lions are realistically better than Minnesota, but another year of Jordan Love taking a further step forward isn’t guaranteed, and the Chicago Bears have all their chips in Caleb Williams’ basket. Both teams should be an opportunity for the Vikings to grab splits, and that only adds to the win total.

Later in the season, presumably, once McCarthy has elevated to the starting quarterback, tilts with teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks all seem like realistic spots to be favored as well. How Minnesota has evolved by that point in the year will certainly be at the forefront of any realistic argument to compete, but none of those teams are expected to truly be any good.

Vikings 2023 Super Bowl Odds
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Maybe the Vikings aren’t going to contend for the division this season, but they shouldn’t be expected to challenge for the first overall pick. They could wind up playing something like the 2023 Houston Texans, and that would be music to the ears of many.

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.