ESPN Forecast for Vikings Rookie Is Quite Surprising

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.

When Minnesota Vikings’ rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy sees the regular season field is arguably the hottest-button topic for the franchise at the moment.

ESPN Forecast for Vikings Rookie Is Quite Surprising

Minnesota utilized Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft to select McCarthy and outside linebacker Dallas Turner from Alabama. Virtually no Vikings fan believed both men were obtainable, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was expected to trade his 1st-Round assets for a quarterback of the future. But on draft night last month, McCarthy slid to pick No. 10, where the young executive pressed the button on a trade with the New York Jets — while keeping his 23rd overall pick. He then picked Turner after an expensive trade to the 17th spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

rookie
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

So, it’s a new era for Minnesota, especially after Kirk Cousins, the quarterback for six seasons, bolted for the Atlanta Falcons in March. And according to ESPN, McCarthy will experience more playing time than some have theorized. ESPN’s Mike Clay published an article this week detailing statistical output for the league’s top rookies, and when he arrived at McCarthy, the forecast was 3,527 passing yards and 19 touchdowns — in 14 starts.

That would put McCarthy in the driver’s seat for a Week 4 takeover, sooner than most fans expect, at least on the whole. Adofo-Mensah signed veteran signal-caller Sam Darnold after Cousins left, and he’s on tap for patchover duty. The only question is when McCarthy formally takes over.

new qb
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Clay explained, “Barring injury, Williams (the No. 1 overall draft pick), Daniels (second), Maye (third), McCarthy (10th) and Nix (12th) are going to play early and often as rookies, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if all five are under center in Week 1.”

Williams will start in Chicago right away, for sure. Daniels is a probably. And then McCarthy, Maye, and Nix are wait-and-see per first start date.

Minnesota quarterback J.J. McCarthy at the first day of rookie minicamp on May 10th, 2024, in Eagan, Minnesota. TCO Performance Center. McCarthy was drafted by the Vikings with the 10th overall pick on April 25th, 2024, in Detroit.

“This is a bit of an unusual class in that the supporting cast/scheme around a few of these QBs provides optimism that they can produce at a higher statistical level than a typical rookie. That group includes Williams and McCarthy, who will benefit from excellent offensive playmakers around them in Chicago and Minnesota, respectively, as well as Daniels, who gets a boost from Kliff Kingsbury’s fast-paced scheme in Washington,” Clay added.

Vikings fans would absolutely welcome 3,527 passing yards and 19 paydirts from McCarthy, as such production would offer a wonderful preview of 2025 and beyond.

Vikings Successfully
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

For now, it’s a matter of waiting to determine when McCarthy will take the baton because the QB1 will likely be Darnold out of the gate.

McCarthy has the fourth-best odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+1200).


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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