New Theory Emerges about J.J. McCarthy

NFL Draft
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Forget the notion of becoming the Week 1 starter for the Minnesota Vikings.

New Theory Emerges about J.J. McCarthy

That’s one of the latest theories about new quarterback J.J. McCarthy, a man the purple team plucked from April’s draft with the 10th overall pick. One outfit claims the rookie could be on the menu for a QB3 job this season.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

Since the draft four weeks ago, Vikings fans have pondered and debated McCarthy’s QB1 ascension, as the youngster will presumably battle veteran Sam Darnold this summer at training camp and in the preseason. But according to, the battle isn’t really a battle at all.’s Will Ragatz wrote this week about McCarthy’s performance at Vikings organized team activities (OTAs), “McCarthy was primarily working as the QB3 behind veterans Sam Darnold and Nick Mullens. When the team split up for parts of the day, it was Darnold and Mullens rotating with the starters and McCarthy and Jaren Hall working with the young players and backups.” He continued, “McCarthy had plenty of moments in this practice that reminded you just how much learning and growth is ahead of him. There were several reps where you could see him going through his progressions, hesitating a bit, and then scrambling or throwing to his checkdown option.”

Minnesota Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy at the first day of rookie minicamp on May 10th, 2024, in Eagan, Minnesota. TCO Performance Center. McCarthy was drafted by the Vikings with the 10th overall pick on April 25th, 2024, in Detroit.

Darnold joined Minnesota on a one-year, $10 million deal in March. While certainly not starting quarterback money, it is on the high end of the QB2 payscale.

“McCarthy is going to have to work his way up the depth chart over the course of this year. The Vikings have a specific plan in place for his development, one they aren’t going to rush or deviate from. If he doesn’t beat out Darnold, prove he’s ready, and win the Week 1 starting job, he might remain the QB3 to start the regular season so he isn’t an injury away from being thrust into action,” Ragatz added.

J.J. McCarthy
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

And that theory is noteworthy because it is brand new. QB3 hasn’t been attached to McCarthy’s anything until this week.

Regarding the plan mentioned by Ragatz, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert explained on April 26th, “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.”

new qb
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The takeaway? No matter what, McCarthy will eventually take the reins of QB1. But QB3 is evidently in play for his 2024 assignment.

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