What are the Chances JJ McCarthy Starts Week One for Vikings? Local Insider Says…

J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Now that we know who the Minnesota Vikings new quarterback of the future is, head coach Kevin O’Connell is facing a new question. Who will start in week one of the 2024 NFL season? We know that KOC has a very specific plan in place for JJ McCarthy and that he’ll have to hit certain benchmarks before he sees the field on game day.

But, what are the chances that the Michigan product hits those benchmarks before week one? And even if he does exceed expectations early, is there a reality where the other new QB in town, Sam Darnold (only 26 y/o), still beats him out?

What are the chances JJ McCarthy starts in week one for Minnesota Vikings?

We can’t answer those questions yet, but one Vikings beat reporter/insider, Ben Goessling (Star Tribune) was at least willing to put a percentage chance (10%) on JJ beating the odds and taking the QB1 job before a game is played this season. Here’s what he had to say on KFAN Radio (with Paul Allen) on Tuesday.

“I think 10… Kevin O’Connell does not want rookies on the field in this spot before they’re ready, because I think he has a pretty strong belief that these guys are going to be better off with time to learn, time to get all of the details, all of the footwork and where are my eyes and how am I stepping into throws and where am I dropping to… I don’t think he’s starting at the beginning of the season.”

Ben Goessling (Star Tribune) on KFAN Radio – (H/T: @TPPSkol)

Like Goessling, I think it’s unlikely McCarthy starts week one. Not only does he have to digest an incredible amount of information and take hold of an NFL locker room where most guys are 5-15 years older than he is… but I believe the NFL world is sleeping on Sam Darnold too.

This is a guy who showed a lot of improvement last season in San Francisco and now he will come to a similar offense under Kevin O’Connell, who made Jaren Hall, Nick Mullens and Josh Dobbs look like semi-serviceable quarterbacks last season. Sam Darnold isn’t Kirk Cousins, but he’s a very large step ahead of those three guys.

Related: Both Vikings’ 1st Round Draft Picks Could Win Rookie of the Year

But, much like Ben, I won’t completely rule out McCarthy as the week one QB1 either. He’s a winner and you know that, if he does start to grasp hold of this offense earlier than expected, it’s only a matter of time before he starts itching to be the guy.

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