NFL Betting: Who Will Be the Vikings' Week 1 Starting Quarterback?

Annie Nader
Annie Nader@ANader33
NFL Betting: Who Will Be the Vikings' Week 1 Starting Quarterback?

The Minnesota Vikings were a legit contender in the 2022 season, boasting a 13-4 record and claiming dominion over the NFC North.

However, the 2023 season brought some unlucky fate. Justin Jefferson missed nearly half of the year due to injury, and even more fatal, Kirk Cousins was maimed with a torn Achilles in Week 8.

The six-year Cousins era has closed, as Minnesota's former signal-caller moved on to the Atlanta Falcons during this offseason.

Although the upcoming season is being classified as somewhat of a rebuilding year -- Minnesota's win total is set at 7.5 -- the team's offensive assets wouldn't necessarily suggest that.

Jefferson was inked to a four-year contract extension, Jordan Addison is off the heels of an explosive rookie season, T.J. Hockenson is set to return from an ACL injury, and Aaron Jones was signed to a one-year deal.

But with Cousins gone, the Vikings need a quarterback who can piece these assets together, and they've got a pair of options in Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy.

Darnold, who made one trivial start for the San Francisco 49ers in 2023, was signed to a one-year, $10 million contract following Cousins' departure. Minnesota then went on to select McCarthy with the 10th overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

Over on FanDuel Sportsbook, you may find a Week 1 Starting QB market for a handful of teams depending on your state. Minnesota's quarterback camp is intriguing, so let's take a look at the odds in this market and see which signal-caller could get the starting nod in Week 1.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Minnesota Vikings Week 1 Starting QB

Sam Darnold (-210)

The Vikings did not just willy-nilly sign Darnold to a deal this offseason. He was tapped as Cousins' initial replacement for a reason, and that reason could be what earns him the starting gig in Week 1.

Darnold has plenty of NFL experience under his belt. He was a three-year starter for the New York Jets, and though that period was marred by a 13-25 record and an eventual trade, he did show some signs of consistency and efficiency during this tenure.

He went on the start for the Carolina Panthers, eventually losing the job to Baker Mayfield, and later served as Brock Purdy's backup in the 2023 season.

Early signs boldly suggest that he will start things off for Minnesota this year. He's been taking nearly all of the first-team reps during minicamp, with Nick Mullens oftentimes coming in next before McCarthy.

Darnold is a bridge starter as the Vikings transition out of the Cousins era and into the McCarthy era, and that status has me quite bullish on him in this market.

J.J. McCarthy (+162)

Minnesota has communicated a desire to play it slow and safe with their rookie quarterback.

They traded one spot up in the draft to select McCarthy and will look for him to be the franchise guy without forcing him into the typical rookie pitfalls too early.

The former Michigan Wolverine is on a development plan, according to Vikings beat reporter Kevin Seifert:

"The approach is designed to avoid the worst-case scenario -- ruining McCarthy's career by exposing him before he is ready -- and is a big reason the Vikings spent $10 million in March to sign veteran Sam Darnold."

We can't take every word that comes out of camp as scripture, and McCarthy has in no way been ruled out to start Week 1.

With that being said, he's not the most experienced quarterback to come out of college, throwing just 713 pass attempts in his Michigan career.

It seems he would have to outdo team expectations for him to be considered from the get-go, and I don't think these +162 odds provide enough juice with that being the case.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.