Could Too Much Torque on J.J. McCarthy’s Arm be a Concern for Vikings?

J.J. McCarthy throwing at Minnesota Vikings minicamp
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings’ rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy has a cannon of an arm. This is nothing new. We saw his cannon at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine where McCarthy showed off a 61 mph fastball.

That’s the third fastest throw in combine history, behind current Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and New England Patriots quarterback Joe Milton.

Could too much velocity be a thing for J.J. McCarthy…?

Obviously, a strong arm is a very important part of being a good quarterback at the NFL most of the time, but is it possible J.J. throws too hard? Not necessarily, but according to Minnesota Vikings’ beat writer Alec Lewis (The Athletic), the amount of torque he puts on his elbow is something the Vikings are going to have to monitor.

McCarthy’s mechanics look clean, and you don’t generate the velocity he does without having efficient movements, beginning with his lower body. Sometimes, though, he tends to overstride, which can force him to rely on his arm (which he can be successful doing on occasion). For example, take Matthew Stafford. He throws bullets across the field, and in recent years, elbow injuries have required him to alter some of his training.

Alec Lewis on the Vikings’ plan to monitor the torque J.J. McCarthy puts on his elbow (The Athletic)

Lewis emphasizes that McCarthy’s mechanics look clean, and that you don’t generate that type of velocity without having efficient movements. However, he does note that sometimes he tends to overstride, which can force him to rely on his arm.

Related: Local Insider: No Doubt Sam Darnold Will Be Vikings Starting QB in Week 1

Lewis then mentions current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford as an example of a quarterback that throws with high velocity but later struggled with elbow injuries later in his career.

The Minnesota Vikings have a strong player health and performance staff

Although McCarthy is in excellent hands with head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown, the Vikings also have vice president of player healthy and performance Tyler Williams and sports science coordinator Dan Ridenour who are well versed in the most forward-thinking development strategies for quarterback movement.

The Vikings are in a position of strength not just with head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown. VP of player health and performance Tyler Williams and sports science coordinator Dan Ridenour are versed in the most forward-thinking developmental strategies for quarterback movement. Ridenour used to work at Nebraska, where they developed an entire lab built around biomechanically tracking baseball pitchers. This is all part of the Vikings’ quarterback development apparatus. It’s more than just a quarterback-friendly system with dynamic skill players.

Alec Lewis on how the Vikings plan to monitor and develop J.J. McCarthy (The Athletic)

In Lewis’ piece, he specifically noted how Ridenour used to work at Nebraska, where they developed an entire lab built around biomechanically tracking baseball pitchers. Something that will definitely come in handy with McCarthy’s throwing motion.

Related: Buzz: Vikings Wanted to Draft Malik Nabers… Then Trade Justin Jefferson

Overall, this is all part of the Vikings’ development process for McCarthy. It still remains to be seen if he’ll be the starting quarterback week one, but one thing’s for sure… he’s surrounded by some of the best in the business regarding his growth and development. Everyone from the head coach, all the way down to the sports science coordinator.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: