J.J. McCarthy Earns Unusually Impressive QB Power Ranking

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.

It wasn’t even from a Minnesota Vikings-themed site.

J.J. McCarthy Earns Unusually Impressive QB Power Ranking

Typically if one saw J.J. McCarthy already ranked as the NFL’s 25th-best quarterback, the onlooker would suspect some kind of Vikings fandom. But this was CBS Sports.

J.J. McCarthy
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Cody Benjamin from the popular outfit fired off his NFL quarterback power rankings this week, and somehow, McCarthy, a shiny new 21-year-old rookie, checked in at No. 25 — notably ahead of Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, Bryce Young, Jayden Daniels, and Gardner Minshew.

“Unlike Caleb Williams, McCarthy isn’t even guaranteed to start in Week 1, with Sam Darnold also in tow. But he’s got arguably the best situation of any rookie signal-caller, plopped into a Kevin O’Connell offense with Pro Bowl-level talent at every spot. He’s got a path to immediate success,” Benjamin defended the McCarthy placement.

new qb
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota used Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft to select McCarthy and outside linebacker Dallas Turner from Alabama. Virtually no Vikings fan believed both men were attainable, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was expected to trade his 1st-Round assets for a quarterback of the future. But on draft night, McCarthy slid to pick No. 10, where the young executive pulled the trigger on a trade with the New York Jets — while keeping his 23rd overall pick in-house. He then picked Turner after an expensive trade to the 17th spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Furthermore, to prove Benjamin’s ranking right, McCarthy will need to see a regular season field in 2024, which is currently up in the air. Most believe veteran passer Sam Darnold will earn QB1 duties out of the gate, mainly because Minnesota signed him for $10 million in March after Kirk Cousins bolted for the Atlanta Falcons. The Vikings have the luxury of rolling with Darnold until McCarthy is ready.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Darnold did not crack the Top 32 rankings published by Benjamin.

Right after the draft, ESPN claimed that Minnesota had a specific development plan awaiting McCarthy. “The Vikings will follow an individualized development plan they created for each of the quarterbacks they considered drafting, one that requires McCarthy to hit specific benchmarks and gives coach Kevin O’Connell full authority to make the timing decision,” ESPN’s Kevin Seifert explained on April 26th.

Around the same time, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said about McCarthy’s upcoming development, “A lot of times when we go back over history and say, ‘These quarterbacks have missed,’ there’s a lot of hands that are dirty in that regard. And we’re going to make sure that our hands are clean and give him the best opportunity he can to be the best player he can be in this offense.”

Vikings Is Sweet
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes a pass against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

Ergo, we shall see if McCarthy earns substantial playing time as a rookie — and if that produces the power ranking defined by CBS Sports.

Vikings rookies report to rookie minicamp on Friday.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.