Are Vikings Intentionally Hiding J.J. McCarthy from Fans and Media?

JJ McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

This offseason this Minnesota Vikings moved on from quarterback Kirk Cousins, shifting the entire direction of the franchise. Especially, to get younger and more financially stable for future years. After moving on from Cousins in free agency, the Vikings traded up one spot in the 2024 NFL Draft to select University of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy at pick No. 10.

McCarthy brings a whole new dynamic and different level of hype to this fanbase. Something we haven’t experienced since, probably, Christian Ponder. That means McCarthy’s hype is on a whole new level for many Vikings’ fans, which is going to be the expectation when you are the highest-drafted QB in franchise history, even surpassing Daunte Culpepper, who was drafted 11th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Why does Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy feel like an afterthought this offseason?

But despite all that hype, the Minnesota Vikings’ staff and their social media accounts have been relatively quiet, in regards to J.J. McCarthy. The coaching staff seems to rarely talk about him and often shift any quarterback related discussions back to Sam Darnold.

Since the start of Vikings offseason workouts, their official social media accounts have posted very little highlights of McCarthy throwing the ball, or even McCarthy on the practice field at all. Lots of Sam Darnold, though.

So what’s the deal? Well, Ben Goessling (Star Tribune – Access Vikings) shed light onto the situation on his most recent episode of the Access Vikings podcast. It seems like the Vikings are keeping “the temperature down” on McCarthy on purpose, in order to shield him from fans and media.

“Well, I don’t think we’re going to see it this week, do you? I mean, they’ve been pretty, not under a lock and key with McCarthy, but they’re trying to keep it fairly, I think they’re trying to keep the temperature down as much as they can. He’s been with the threes a lot.”

Ben Goessling (Star Tribune – Access Vikings)

What’s interesting is Goessling says that McCarthy isn’t “under a lock and key”, but that the Vikings are trying to keep “the temperature down as much as they can”. The Vikings beat writer also notes how McCarthy has been with the threes for most of the offseason. That means he is behind both Darnold, as well as Nick Mullens.

What is the Vikings’ goal with all of this regarding J.J. McCarthy?

At this point, it seems quite clear the Minnesota Vikings’ are trying their hardest to shield and protect McCarthy, at least from an expectation standpoint for fans. The coaching staff from day one continues to preach patience regarding McCarthy’s development.

It’s a difficult offense to grasp in one offseason, and head coach Kevin O’Connell has been around long enough to see rookie quarterbacks get thrown in too early only to watch them fail. Darnold would be an excellent example of that.

Related: Apparently, the Vikings Have a Starting Left Guard Competition

The tenures of O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah likely ride on McCarthy’s success. They won’t play him unless they are completely certain he’s ready for the bright lights.

Additionally, it seems like the Vikings’ social media team have been instructed to limit the photos and videos of McCarthy during practice to minimize expectations for the fans. Patience is needed, but McCarthy’s time will eventually come.

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