NFL Analyst Makes Big Prediction For Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy

JJ McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
NFL Analysis Network

The general consensus all along has been that Minnesota Vikings incoming rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy will start right from the jump in 2024.

But are we placing unrealistic expectations on McCarthy?

The Vikings selected McCarthy with the 10th overall pick of the NFL Draft late last month. As a matter of fact, they traded up one spot just to ensure they secured him.

Minnesota also signed Sam Darnold in free agency, but very few people actually believed he would succeed Kirk Cousins as the team’s starter under center.

However, there may actually be a chance that Darnold does just that. At least for a little while.

During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, Louis Riddick was asked if he expects McCarthy to start next season, and he said he thinks McCarthy will end up getting the job sometime during the first half of the campaign. That means he isn’t sure the University of Michigan product will start Week 1.

In that scenario, Darnold would, in fact, be getting some starts early on.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that McCarthy impresses in training camp and preseason and wins the job outright. After all, plenty of teams have been immediately starting rookie signal-callers in recent years.

The pendulum may be swinging back the other way, though.

After a handful of young quarterbacks over the past several seasons were clearly thrust into action too early (like now-former New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson), teams now may be more amenable to letting first-year signal-callers sit early on in order to watch and learn.

Will the Vikings employ this strategy with McCarthy? Possibly.

Riddick notes that McCarthy is actually stepping into a terrific situation in Minnesota, which is valid given the weapons at his disposal. Riddick also had high praise for head coach Kevin O’Connell and thinks he is the perfect person to guide McCarthy in the early stages of his NFL career.

The Vikings have Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at wide receiver, and tight end T.J. Hockenson should be returning from his knee injury at some point in 2024.

Those are definitely some impressive targets for McCarthy, who will need all the help he can get.

McCarthy is coming off of a 2023 campaign in which led Michigan to a national championship, throwing for 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 72.3 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 202 yards and three scores.

We’ll see how J.J. McCarthy’s game translates to the pros.

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