Vikings Fans’ Preference for QB1 Is Stunning

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, Minnesota Vikings fans are not interested in seeing rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy start in Week 1 of 2024.

Vikings Fans’ Preference for QB1 Is Stunning

They want Sam Darnold. Plain and simple.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

So far this spring and summer, Vikings quarterback operations have trended in favor of Darnold starting in September, and fans evidently hopped on the hype train. Minnesota found McCarthy in the 2024 NFL Draft with the 10th overall pick, and before too long, he will take over as QB1 or at least receive a prolonged audition.

But fans — emphatically — want Darnold in the saddle when the 2024 season starts. We polled Vikings fans on X, formerly known as Twitter, and the result overwhelmingly nominated Darnold as the Week 1 preference.

A mind-boggling 84% chose Darnold over McCarthy’s puny 16%, a significant development in the state of play among fans. The poll was unscientific, and 836 folks responded.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The good news for Vikings fans? They’ll probably get their wish with Darnold. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell all but confirmed Darnold as the current QB1 last week. The skipper said at minicamp, “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.”

O’Connell also said about Darnold last month while chatting with Kay Adams, “Just from a standpoint of his ability to absorb our offense, go out and execute with a lot of guys, when he steps into the huddle, he’s stepping in with guys that have been in this system for two years. And we’re not really slowing down from a standpoint of how we want to kind of install our offense.”

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

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,” 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.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

So, even though McCarthy is very vividly the quarterback of the future, the team’s fans want Darnold to take the baton in 2024, and the coaching staff seems on track to make it happen.

Vikings training camp is one month away.

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