Vikings Will Reportedly Sit JJ McCarthy Until He Takes QB1 from Sam Darnold Organically

JJ McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Immediately after the 2024 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings were said to have a real quarterback battle on their hands, between newly signed Sam Darnold and newly drafted JJ McCarthy. But is that really true? The closer we get to training camp, the less it feels that way.

For now, it feels like the Vikings’ QB1 job belongs to the 26-year-old veteran until the 21-year-old rookie rips it out of his hands. That’s what all the plugged in beat reporters and insiders have been reporting on for the last week or more.

Minnesota Vikings want JJ McCarthy QB takeover to be organic

The Vikings paid Sam Darnold for a reason and they expect him to play well enough to where, as beat reporter Kevin Seifert (ESPN) put it on Tuesday morning, McCarthy’s eventual takeover can be “organic”, not “forced”.

The Vikings don’t view Darnold simply as someone they can play if McCarthy isn’t ready for Week 1. It’s more accurate to understand him as a player the Vikings believe they can compete with as McCarthy moves through an organized developmental plan that prioritizes his long-term future.

Does that mean the Vikings have ruled out McCarthy as their Week 1 starter? Of course not. But they want his ascension to be organic — based on his own aptitude and readiness — rather than forced by a lack of alternatives.

Kevin Seifert – ESPN

One thing that a lot of fans and talking heads haven’t touched on nearly enough, when digging into JJ McCarthy’s eventual takeover of the starting quarterback job in Minnesota, is how it will go over in the locker room.

We’ve heard general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell speak endlessly about how important it is that JJ McCarthy be put in positions where he can succeed and get better. Which is why they will not put him on the field until he is ready.

Vikings Teammates will know when JJ McCarthy is ready

JJ McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

And who will know when JJ is ready before anyone else? His teammates. The guys that he hangs out with on and off the field nearly every day for six months of the year. The guys who catch passes, take handoffs and sit in huddles with both Sam Darnold and JJ McCarthy at practice.

If McCarthy’s takeover isn’t organic, if his own teammates don’t think he is the best man for the job, then starting him would NOT be putting JJ in the best position to succeed. That’s why Seifert’s report from this morning was extremely noteworthy.

When this franchise shifts onto the shoulders of it’s new QB, he has to be ready. And the Minnesota Vikings organization will know he’s ready as soon as his teammates view him as the better option.

Related: Florio Wonders if Vikings are Waiting for Justin Jefferson Trade Offer They Won’t Refuse

And KOC needs Sam Darnold to play well enough that McCarthy has to earn his spot in the driver’s seat. Not be handed the keys because the driver before him sucked at driving. In a perfect world, Sam will be a new and improved version of himself.

Then, as McCarthy learns and the offense begins to slow down, his talent will show the entire Vikings organization that he is who they thought he was. At that point, he will start to prove to teammates, to coaches, Sam Darnold and even himself, that he is the real deal.

It’s that kind of takeover that would infuse confidence throughout the entire organization. Will that be how reality unfolds? Who knows. But that is Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s dream scenario.

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