Wild Wager Placed on Vikings’ New QB

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Barring an astounding training camp and preseason for Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy, Sam Darnold is in line to start at QB1 for the purple team at the New York Giants in September.

Wild Wager Placed on Vikings’ New QB

That’s the word from the Vikings coaching staff, a plan that makes sense as McCarthy is just 21 years old, and there’s no real requirement to rush him into a starter’s role. Regarding Darnold, though, at least one bettor believes in his upside.

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Betting analyst Ben Fawkes tweeted Monday, some 62 days before the start of the regular season: “Some more betting love for Minnesota Vikings QB Sam Darnold: One bettor at Fan Duel Sportsbook wagered $250 on Darnold to win NFL Offensive Player of the Year at 400-1 odds. Bet would win $100,000.”

Wild bets like this occur all the time, but this is the first notable example for Darnold, who joined the Vikings in March, about 12 hours after Kirk Cousins committed to the Atlanta Falcons for four years and $180 million.

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Darnold also has 300-to-1 odds to win MVP. The same bet placed by the wagerer from the Hawkes’ tweet would win $75,000.

Right after the 2024 NFL Draft, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert mentioned a checklist that would be used in application to J.J. 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.

Sam darnold
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Darnold addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center during OTAs. Darnold joined the Vikings’ roster in March 2024 during free agency, on deck as a Kirk Cousins replacement and sharing the QB room later with rookie passer J.J. McCarthy of Michigan.

The ESPN revelation hinted at Darnold’s eventual seizure of the QB1 job, an outcome all but confirmed by head coach Kevin O’Connell at June’s minicamp. O’Connell said about QB1 as Darnold’s gig to lose: “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.”

Teams led by Darnold are 21-35 (.375) since 2018, so it’s particularly bold to wager on his OPOY prop bet.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports | Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports.

Darnold has never thrown more than 3,024 passing yards in a season — and that was five years ago. Some have argued, however, that he’s never encountered a supporting cast like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Aaron Jones at his side. We shall see.

The aforementioned McCarthy has 10-1 odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

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 OverTheCap.com.