Vikings’ New QB Aced the Test

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Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) warms up before Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Minnesota Vikings rookie minicamp got underway last Friday, and new quarterback J.J. McCarthy headlined the event.

Vikings’ New QB Aced the Test

All eyes for the foreseeable future turn to McCarthy’s development and maturation, as his eventual performance will define Vikings football for the next several years.

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Michigan quarterback 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.

And at minicamp, plus over the weekend in general, McCarthy aced the test, and here’s why.

1. Per His Words, He’s Ready

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Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Somehow, McCarthy is already prepared for the bright lights of the big job.

He told reporters on Friday, “It didn’t feel like my first day. I’ve been going over the offense for a long time now. So being able to go out there and perform and execute, that’s new, but it was nothing that was overwhelming or too much.”

McCarthy could have, in theory, been mum on the topic of knowing the offense, as Kevin O’Connell’s system is known for complexity. But McCarthy said the right things — he’s ready — which is music to the ears of Vikings fans.

2. The Camera Test

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.

Not too much can be gleaned from a new quarterback at a rookie minicamp. It’s not a robust training camp event where humongous strides are taken. Yet, McCarthy was neither shy for the cameras nor looked bad in purple.

Put frankly, the man passed the eye test — on the microphone and tossing the ball a little bit.

And it wasn’t just a microphone. There was the aesthetic of tossing the pigskin.

After six years of Kirk Cousins, who held down the QB1 role with the utmost consistency, it was refreshing to see a newcomer impress in front of the cameras. After all, that’s what rookie minicamp is for, at least from a fans’ perspective.

3. The Wolves Game Appearance

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings fans love their Timberwolves team — especially the 2024 edition — and McCarthy was in the house at Target Center on Sunday night. Of course, the Wolves lost the crucial showdown, but such is life for Minnesota sports, well, anything.

Yet, along with several Vikings players, McCarthy fired up the cross-spot camaraderie angle and attended the Wolves’ playoff game.

Our very own Janik Eckardt provided a tweet to illustrate why McCarthy’s presence was important.

Until training camp kicks off, fans will hang on every McCarthy tidbit, and last weekend was the first example. And it’s a righteous task: no Minnesota quarterback has held the QB1 job for longer than 5.5 seasons since the 1980s.


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.

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