Vikings Vegas Odds Sharpen in Pursuit of Rookie QB

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2024 NFL Draft will shake down in 23 days and serve as an acme to the Minnesota Vikings offseason.

Vikings Vegas Odds Sharpen for Pursuit of Rookie QB

Kevin O’Connell’s team is expected to draft a quarterback, some 41 days after Kirk Cousins had left town for Atlanta. Cousins will quarterback the Falcons in 2024 and hope to guide that team to the postseason for the first time since 2017.

Vikings Vegas Odds
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And when Minnesota steps up to the plate on that fateful Thursday night, the commissioner is predicted to announce J.J. McCarthy’s name, the young National Champion quarterback from the University of Michigan.

In fact, the odds keep sharpening for the relationship. Since the Vikings pulled off a trade 2.5 weeks ago, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap, McCarthy became the odds-on favorite to land in Minnesota.

a Wild Free
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Then, this week, the odds intensified, moving to a +100 moneyline, which is an even-money bet. If you laid $100 on McCarthy to leave the draft as a Viking, you’d win $100 — straight up.

North Carolina’s Drake Maye is the next in line per betting odds favorites for Minnesota, with the moneyline at +350. That’s why Vikings fans have narrowed the draft pick to an essentially binary choice between Maye and McCarthy — Vegas recommends it.

Last week,’s Daniel Jeremiah said all the hype surrounding McCarthy climbing into the draft’s Top 5 picks was not a smokescreen: “I put it out in my last mock draft, and I have quarterbacks going one through four … I’m talking to teams that are in the Quarterback market, and teams that aren’t… JJ McCarthy is really highly thought of, and that’s not a smokescreen.”

Back in December, when credible mock drafts were just getting off the ground, McCarthy was forecasted as a 2nd-Rounder. Fast forward to March, and the man is damn near a Top 5 prospect in all mocks.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Because the Vikings own the two 1st-Rounders mentioned above from the Texans’ trade, no quarterback-needy team, other than Chicago, has more 1st-Round capital in this draft to move up the board. Correspondingly, sportsbooks believe Minnesota will spend that capital, probably on McCarthy.

ESPN’s Matt Miller opined last week that the Vikings will be aggressive for McCarthy. He provided evidence, citing Minnesota’s ardor for McCarthy and would-be aggressive trade pursuit for the Wolverine. “The Vikings sent neither general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah nor coach Kevin O’Connell to the Michigan pro day Friday, but quarterbacks coach Josh McCown was firmly planted right behind McCarthy during his 25-minute throwing session,” Miller wrote about Minnesota’s representation at McCarthy’s Pro Day.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell

Miller then spiced it up, “In talking to NFL personnel while on the road at pro days this week, the feeling is still the Vikings will be aggressive in trading up to the No. 4 or No. 5 spot to land the Michigan quarterback. One general manager I talked to this week said McCarthy is a top-six pick right now. The question is who will trade up to get him.”

The draft lead-up still has about three weeks to go.

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