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Starting QB Question Clouds Outlook for Vikings in 2024

It is never a good sign when four quarterbacks get to play for an NFL team. Things didn’t go very well after No. 1 QB Kirk Cousins suffered a season-ending injury in 2023. The Vikings opted not to pay the steep price needed to keep Cousins and now either journeyman Sam Darnold or rookie J.J. McCarthy figure to become the starting quarterback in Minnesota.

The NFL odds have Minnesota well behind the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears in the NFC North Division odds. The Vikings are tied for ninth at +2000 in the odds of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Starting QB Question Clouds Outlook for Vikings in 2024
Quarterbacks J.J. McCarthy #9, Sam Darnold #14, Jaren Hall #16 and Nick Mullens #12 of the Minnesota Vikings | Adam Bettcher/Getty Images/AFP

McCarthy is fourth at +700 in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds, even though it is uncertain if he will begin the season as the starting quarterback for the Vikings.

When looking at the NFL futures odds, there are 19 teams with better odds of winning the Super Bowl than the Vikings, who are coming off a 7-10 season with questions at the quarterback position.

Minnesota opens its preseason schedule at home against the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 10 before playing the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles on the road.


Things About to Get Real for Vikings

The season-opening road game against the New York Giants is currently listed as a Pick’em. After that, the degree of difficulty will increase in a hurry.

The home opener comes against Christian McCaffrey, Brock Purdy and the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. Next up is a matchup against a Houston team that is being viewed by those who bet online as a dark-horse Super Bowl contender. That is followed by games against the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets (in London) and, after a bye week, the first meeting of the 2024 season against NFC North Division favorite Detroit.

Minnesota was 4-3-2 against the spread as the underdog a season ago. Look for the Vikings to get plenty of experience as an underdog in 2024.

Speaking of last year’s NFL betting trends, the Vikings were 2-4 against the NFL spread against fellow NFC North Division teams.


Darnold or McCarthy? Who Will Be the Quarterback?

Seven of the top eight players picked in the 2018 NFL Draft have earned Pro Bowl nods. The lone exception is quarterback Sam Darnold. The No. 3 overall selection in 2018 is now with his fourth franchise in the last five seasons. Is he really the answer if rookie J.J. McCarthy isn’t ready to be the starter for Minnesota when the season begins?

Whoever the quarterback is, there are some quality pass catchers to throw the ball to. Justin Jefferson could be the most talented receiver in the NFL. Jordan Addison showed plenty of promise as a rookie while T.J. Hockenson is an elite tight end. Aaron Jones figures to be the go-to running back.

The defense lost sack leader Danielle Hunter. Are the additions of Dallas Turner, selected in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft out of Alabama, and former Miami Dolphins edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel enough to make up for the loss of Hunter.

It would be a step in the right direction if the top two tacklers for the Vikings were not defensive backs, as was the case in 2023.


Vikings Look to Stay Afloat Early in 2024 Season

If Minnesota can find a way to win some games early in the season, there are some winnable matchups in the second half of the season.

It begins with a game in Los Angeles against the Rams on Oct. 24. However, that comes on a short week. With that matchup followed by games against the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons, perhaps that is the perfect time to turn over the offense to McCarthy.

The final two games will not be easy with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions possibly fighting for playoff position.


Vikings Ready for Some Home Cooking?

Minnesota stumbled its way to a 2-6 record at home last season and that is not a recipe for success.

The Vikings hope to discover some of its magic from the 2022 season when they were 8-2 at home en route to winning the NFC North Division title.

It has been a bit of an all-or-nothing proposition for the Vikings in recent seasons.

Since 2008, Minnesota has won at least 10 games on seven occasions. In the other nine seasons, the Vikings posted a 59-85-2 record.

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Season Prediction Murky for Vikings

This roster does not scare many teams outside of star receiver Jefferson and tight end Hockenson.

The good news is that while the NFL picks have Minnesota last in the odds of winning the NFC North title, Green Bay and Chicago are far from being unbeatable teams.

Minnesota was just 3-6 as an underdog last season and covered against the NFL spread in just two of the eight home games.

Perhaps McCarthy will bring some excitement to an offense that scored the fewest points among NFC North teams. However, until that happens, the Vikings could be in the territory of another 10-loss season.

The expected regular-season win total was set pretty low at 6½. It might be tempting to go with the +120 odds to go under that total but the smarter move might be to stay away from win total projections.



Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.


Questions Of The Day

Do the Minnesota Vikings have the toughest schedule in the NFL?

Based on the 2023 win/loss numbers, the winning percentage of Minnesota’s opponents is .502 and that is tied for 16th in the NFL.

Which Minnesota players have the best odds to win NFL individual awards?

Dallas Turner has the shortest odds of +375 to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Receiver Justin Jefferson is tied for third at +900 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is fourth at +700 in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds.

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