Hot Seat Chatter Begins for Vikings’ Leadership

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Need to see how the Minnesota Vikings’ rookie quarterback develops? Nope — it’s a one-year trial, says the Pioneer Press.

Hot Seat Chatter Begins for Vikings’ Leadership

Minnesota recently said goodbye to quarterback Kirk Cousins and outside linebacker Danielle Hunter during a change-filled offseason, paving the way for draft picks J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner. And according to Pioneer Press‘ Charley Walters, those two players must basically dazzle in 2024 for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell to get extensions next offseason.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

“In order to move up from No. 23 to No. 17 in the first round of April’s draft to take pass rusher Dallas Turner, and to move up from No. 11 to No. 10 to take QB J.J. McCarthy, the Vikings had to trade Nos. 11, 23, 129, 157 and 167 picks this year, plus third- and fourth-round picks in 2025. Clearly, the team’s front office feels urgency for contract extensions next year,” Walters wrote. “If McCarthy and Turner turn out to be productive, it would mean extensions. If not, major front office changes would be expected in 2025.”

It’s a strange ultimatum because draft picks usually need more than a single season to bloom. For example, quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to start for the Vikings in September. Per Walters’ jottings, McCarthy will have to see the playing field sometime in 2024 to ensure the job security of Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell. If that’s the case, Minnesota’s leadership might have a vested interest in tossing McCarthy into the fire sooner rather than later.

J.J. McCarthy
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.

Walters also opined on the aforementioned Darnold, “The issue with Sam Darnold, 27, who, as expected, was named the Vikings’ starting QB, isn’t a strong arm or physical skills. It’s interceptions — he’s thrown 56 during his six-year career. Next season, by the way, will be his last shot at being a starter.”

Turner, on the other hand, could play right away. He has turned heads this spring and summer and looks the part of a man who can start out of the gate.

hot seat
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.

McCarthy will take time to mature and develop. Not every rookie passer thrives like Patrick Mahomes, C.J. Stroud, or Justin Herbert. While Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell will be adjudicated for an extension, there may not be a direct correlation between McCarthy’s 2024 performance and those contracts. Minnesota must essentially trend in the right direction as a team in 2024 — McCarthy be damned.

There’s also the argument that Vikings’ ownership wanted it this way. When Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell arrived in 2022, it might’ve been tempting to offload Cousins and start fresh with a rookie passer, though that year’s draft class was awful for quarterback prospects. Instead, Adofo-Mensah fancied a “competitive rebuild,” which seemed to be aligned with the Wilfs’ (ownership) vision. Putting Adofo-Mensah on the hot seat in Year No. 3 or 4 because “it’s taking too long” might be weird after ownership endorsed or mandated the stay-competitive-at-all-costs mantra.

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell was mic’d up during minicamp practice during the 2024 offseason programming. The Vikings hired Kevin O’Connell in 2022 after eight seasons of Mike Zimmer from 2014 to 2022.

Of course, the current leadership’s regime job security will link to McCarthy’s progression, but to suggest 2024 is the almighty hinge is a little weird. The McCarthy experiment probably needs to bleed into 2025 and 2026 for a fair evaluation.

Yet, per Walters, the time is now for Minnesota’s 1st-Rounders if Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell want extensions.

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