Vikings Insider Reveals Details About J.J. McCarthy’s Development So Far

JJ McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
NFL Analysis Network

J.J. McCarthy’s ability to duplicate success in the NFL is one of the lingering questions about the Minnesota Vikings. The answer won’t come overnight, but hints might already be presenting themselves.

Vikings insider Ben Goessling explained how McCarthy is adapting to the NFL level.

Here’s what The Purple Persuasion said he reported.

“While the Vikings’ footwork is different from what he’s used in the past, McCarthy said it’s not a drastic change. He’s made progress connecting his footwork to the route concepts in the Vikings’ playbook, he added, and he goes over play names with his fiancée most nights. ‘It’s a hassle, but she understands,’ he said with a laugh.”

McCarthy currently sits in second place on the Vikings’ depth chart behind Sam Darnold. Until something changes, Darnold is on track to start in Week 1.

Of course, anything can change in the room. McCarthy’s light bulb could go off in any practice. He could suddenly put it together in the first practice of training camp. On the other hand, it could never fully switch on. If that happens, the Vikings will have let a franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins leave in vain.

That being said, the conclusion is still at least three years away in a realistic worst-case scenario.

J.J. McCarthy fights against perfect storm of historical regression

One fear surrounding McCarthy in 2024 is a hangover from winning it all in college.

McCarthy put a period on his college career by hoisting the College National Championship trophy. After experiencing a championship in the NFL, teams often see a decline following the Super Bowl.. Some of this is hubris.

Vikings fans hope that McCarthy didn’t come into the league too overconfident. If he did in combination with an uptick in difficulty, the result could be a painful, humbling experience. In a worst-case scenario, McCarthy could potentially have a Bryce Young-type season if a championship hangover and learning pains hit simultaneously.

As such, whether on purpose or not, holding off the starting job as long as possible might be the best medicine to cure the hangover part of the equation. Then, while sitting behind Darnold, he can iron out some of the kinks in his game and fully transition correctly into the league.

If done correctly, J.J. McCarthy can come into the picture with the right amount of confidence and practice under his belt.

Will Darnold win the starting job for Week 1?

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