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Vikings starting quarterback odds: J.J. McCarthy likely to open season as backup to Sam Darnold



Despite the team selecting him with the No. 10 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, J.J. McCarthy isn’t likely to be the Vikings’ starting quarterback come Week 1.

At least according to oddsmakers.

Sam Darnold is the top choice at DraftKings Sportsbook (-160) to be Minnesota’s signal-caller at the outset of the 2024 season. 

McCarthy, who is coming off a national championship with the Michigan Wolverines, is +120 to be behind center when their season kicks off. 

Darnold, whom the Jets took with the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Vikings in March after backing up Brock Purdy for the NFC champion 49ers in 2023. 

At the time, the 26-year-old Darnold was seen as a veteran quarterback who could serve as a bridge for a potential rookie quarterback the Vikings took in the draft. 

The Minnesota Vikings make Michigan Quarterback JJ McCarthy the 10nth overall pick during Day 1 of the NFL Draft on April 25, 2024 at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in Detroit. Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After the draft, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was non-committal on whether McCarthy, who doesn’t turn 22 until January, or Darnold would be the team’s starting quarterback. 

“We’re not going to rush [McCarthy’s] development,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We’re just going to do what’s best for the Vikings in the short and long term.”

No matter how it shakes out, next season will mark a new era at the position for Minnesota. 

The franchise moved on from four-time Pro Bowler Kirk Cousins, who played six seasons with the Vikings after the veteran quarterback signed a four-year, $180 million contract with the Falcons.

Betting on the NFL?

Although he may not be the Week 1 starter, oddsmakers are still expecting McCarthy to get plenty of time on the field next season. 

McCarthy is +800 to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, the fourth-best odds on the board at DraftKings, and +350 to lead all rookies in passing yards, the third-best odds. 

His over/under for passing yards at FanDuel opened at 3,075.5 yards, indicating that it’s likely only a matter of time before his QB1 in Minnesota. 

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