Questions Answered: J.J. McCarthy as the Backup’s Backup, Anthony Barr, Under-the-Radar Vikings Observation

Rookie QB
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

The following questions are about current Minnesota Vikings topics, answered by VikingsTerritory. Today is the July 10th edition, addressed in a from-the-hip fashion. If you have questions, please email them to [email protected].

Questions Answered: J.J. McCarthy as the Backup’s Backup, Anthony Barr, Under-the-Radar Observation

Also, please note: These are opinion-based responses. Some answers will be incorrect from time to time. But we’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

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Q: Do you believe J.J. McCarthy could end up as the Vikings’ QB3, not QB2?

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J.J. McCarthy with the Minnesota practice highlights from OTA No. 2 of 2024, which took place at the TCO Performance Center. Minnesota used the 10th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft to select him after a trade up the board with the New York Jets.

Answer: Unfortunately, yes, we believe there is a pathway to that scenario.

KFAN’s Paul Allen, the voice of the Vikings, mentioned McCarthy’s summer stakes this week on his show. “I would make it prohibitively favored in that it would be Sam Darnold starting, Nick Mullens as the backup, and then J.J. McCarthy as the 3rd QB … But this is an opportunity for McCarthy,” Allen said Monday.

Allen added, “Puncher’s chance would be too strong, but long-ish shot fashion to win the two jobs in training camp. And I don’t necessarily know if it’s going to happen, but I would make 3 QBs on the active roster prohibitively favored.”

In 2020, the Green Bay Packers plopped Jordan Love into the QB3 job behind Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Benkert. If it can happen to Love, it can happen to McCarthy.

Don’t rule this one out — at all.

Q: Will Anthony Barr play in 2024?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Answer: In the league? Yes. For the Vikings, probably not.

Barr turned 32 in March and is nearing the end of the road in his playing career. He might have one more run this season, and we’ll predict the Dallas Cowboys as his eventual destination, reuniting with Mike Zimmer and Eric Kendricks.

But he’ll be a depth piece if so.

Q: What’s one under-the-radar thing about the Vikings that people aren’t mentioning?

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A: The brutal start to the schedule.

This is the Vikings’ itinerary to start the season:

Week 1 — at New York Giants
Week 2 — vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 3 — vs. Houston Texans
Week 4 — at Green Bay Packers
Week 5 — vs. New York Jets (London)
Week 6 — Bye
Week 7 — vs. Detroit Lions
Week 8 — at Los Angeles Rams (TNF)

It’s five 2023 playoff teams in the first seven games, plus Aaron Rodgers’ team.

Even if Minnesota had grand Super Bowl plans in 2024, or if Kirk Cousins hadn’t left, that might be a 2-5 or 3-4 beginning. Thankfully, the schedule softens later in the season, at least on paper.

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 MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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