Minnesota Vikings Teammate Praises Rookie QB J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
Junfu Han-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Minnesota Vikings made some major changes at the quarterback position this offseason. Veteran Kirk Cousins hit free agency, signing a deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

To replace him, the Vikings signed Sam Darnold away from the San Francisco 49ers. But, he will be facing competition for the starting job from J.J. McCarthy.

The No. 10 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Minnesota traded up one spot in a deal with the New York Jets to ensure they got their guy. A national champion as the starting quarterback for Michigan, McCarthy is stepping into a great situation.

The Minnesota Vikings are loaded with talent at the skill positions. Running back Aaron Jones was signed this offseason, joining wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison and tight end T.J. Hockenson.

However, McCarthy is going to have to earn the starting job. Darnold is going to be the starter when training camp starts in a few weeks, but the Michigan product has been turning some heads during practice.

One of the players who McCarthy has impressed is linebacker Blake Cashman. He has been going against the quarterback during the offseason workouts and has come away with a positive first impression.

“Yeah, 21 years old but a great young man,” Cashman said of McCarthy in an interview with Jim Rome this week. “He’s a leader. He is eager to learn. A lot of young guys, sometimes they can come in, be a little timid or shy. But he’s walking round the locker room, big smile on his face, shaking hands, getting to know everybody.

“I didn’t know much about his game before, and I knew he was an outstanding quarterback, winning followed him at Michigan. But I didn’t realize how much heat he could put on the ball. He’s got a great long ball. And even those tight windows, which close fast at the next level — he can zip the ball past a linebacker or safety’s head and squeeze it in those tight windows. And that’s very promising to see.”

While he is QB2 for the Minnesota Vikings out of the gate, it is only a matter of time until he ascends to the starting role. Given his draft pedigree and ceiling, the team is going to want to see what their first-round pick is made of sooner rather than later.

Coming from a pro-style system at Michigan will certainly help. McCarthy wasn’t asked to do much with the Wolverines given how good the running game was, but he has all of the tools to develop into a very good starter in the NFL.

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