It Starts This Weekend for J.J. McCarthy

Mock Draft
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings used their top draft pick last month on Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. While some thought it might take them moving into the top five to land the quarterback they chose, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah picked his spot at 10th overall. With McCarthy now in the building, it remains to be seen how long he’ll ride the bench. Everything starts this weekend for him.

It Starts This Weekend for J.J. McCarthy

With Minnesota holding its rookie minicamp from May 10-12 at the Vikings TCO Performance Center, all eyes will be on the new signal caller right out of the gate. He isn’t expected to start Week 1 for Minnesota, and the Vikings have all but made it clear that’s not their desire either. He’s going to have the opportunity to learn from both head coach Kevin O’Connell and veteran quarterback Sam Darnold.

new qb
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

There is a path where Darnold works a sizable number of games for Minnesota this season, and if that were the case, it would reflect strong outputs from the former top draft pick. Although unlikely, Darnold finds himself in an ideal situation for the first time in his career, and capitalizing on that shouldn’t be ruled out.

Beyond that, just how well the Vikings fare as a team remains to be seen. Minnesota has revamped their defense under coordinator Brian Flores, and grabbing a superstar talent in the form of Dallas Turner certainly doesn’t hurt either. If the squad comes out of the gate winning games at a regular clip, it will be much harder to turn the reins over to an untested rookie.

J.J. McCarthy
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) takes a moment to watch TCU celebrate after Michigan lost, 51-45 at the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Over the weekend, though, McCarthy is going to get his time to shine. It will be his first look at where he is on a professional field surrounded by players at the same talent level.

McCarthy is expected to be a developmental prospect that could turn into something great, and the foundation should provide a decent idea of how quickly all of that could come together.

Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

Of course, minicamp being a glorified practice isn’t going to give us any sort of crystal ball to look into, but for a franchise that has been seeking long-term stability at the most critical position for years, this is a big stepping stone into the future. McCarthy mania has been taking place since his name was called during the draft, and that hype train isn’t going back into the station any time soon.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.