ESPN Expects Minnesota Vikings to Suck in 2024

Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie quarterbacks typically don’t find immediate success in the NFL. While there’s no guarantee J.J. McCarthy will see the field in his first season with the Minnesota Vikings, Sam Darnold isn’t any more proven than the 21-year-old rookie.

In the NFL, your odds of making the playoffs crater when you don’t have an established quarterback. Sure, it’s possible the Vikings have two good quarterbacks on the roster, but we just haven’t seen it yet.

In other words, while Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell have assembled a roster that’s full of potential, that’s all the Vikings are at this point, a team that could be good, but they could also be bad, really bad.

ESPN projects Minnesota Vikings as a bottom-ten team

You can put ESPN in the ‘hater’ bucket when it comes to setting expectations for the Vikings in 2024.

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, which is an analytically-driven form of power rankings, the Vikings are currently the 25th-best team in the NFL, meaning only seven teams are projected to be worse. They also give Minnesota just a 14% chance of returning to the playoffs.

This model also projects the Vikings to have a 54.8% chance of landing a top-ten pick in the 2025 NFL Draft, which further demonstrates why it was so important to retain their top pick in draft-day negotiations while trading up for McCarthy and Dallas Turner.

If the Vikings really do finish with a top-ten pick, this upcoming season could be viewed as a failure. Yet, if McCarthy can climb up the depth chart and show signs of being a franchise quarterback, it could set Minnesota up for a big bounce-back season in 2025, especially since they’ll have tons of cap space (over $60M before Jefferson + Darrisaw extension) and, as mentioned, their own first-round pick.

The truth is, the Vikings were always projected to be in for a rough season from the moment the Vikings lost Kirk Cousins to tampering free agency, so ESPN’s model shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But that doesn’t mean the Vikings are automatically poised to suck this season either.

Expectations weren’t too high for the Houston Texans last year, and CJ Stroud still led a team with a preseason over/under win projection set at 6.5 to a Divisional Round playoff appearance. We’re not saying the same will happen in Minnesota, but crazier things have happened in the NFL.

Related: Christian Darrisaw Blown Away by How Good Dallas Turner is Already

Mentioned in this article:

More About: