According to some reports, Sam Darnold will be the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Darnold signed a one-year $10 million deal with the Minnesota team this year. But where does that leave JJ McCarthy, the coveted QB out of Michigan? Logically, he’s exactly where he needs to be as the Vikings are leaving no stones unturned when it comes to McCarthy’s growth.

The Vikings HC and former NFL QB Kevin O’Connell joined The Rich Eisen Show to discuss just what the Vikings have in mind for their up-and-coming quarterback. The team retaining Justin Jefferson will be a huge part of McCarthy’s growth for sure. But O’Connell named one “roadblock” that might still stand in the way of the CFP National Championship winner, recalling his own sour interaction with Tom Brady.

Kevin O’Connell’s situation might trickle down to JJ McCarthy!


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The Vikings’ training center has a full house and McCarthy is getting a lot of 7-on-7 training, getting acclimated with the new offense, new team members, and most importantly, getting a lot of reps with the starting group. However, it may still be a slow transition adjusting to the new environment, but McCarthy is impressing the HC, so much so that O’Connell wants to keep the QBs confidence alive and well.

So far, the ex-Michigan QB is delivering on everything that is being expected of him. The preconceived notions about the CFP champ still stand true in the head coach’s eye. “He’s wearing us out at the facilities, he’s been working his tail off and I think he is going to be in a great spot to continue his growth and development on a really good timeline,” said the HC on McCarthy.

The presence of people like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and TJ Hockenson returning, along with their two reliable guards Dalton Risner and Garrett Bradbury has got O’Connell fired up. So much so, that he wants to step into a uniform and take some reps with the team. It reminded him of his time with the Patriots in 2008, when he was hired to play behind Tom Brady. But Brady’s presence was a “roadblock” for O’Connell as he didn’t get as much practice time. Eisen teased O’Connell about it saying, “Wasn’t Brady there when you got there, Kevin?”

The Vikings HC was reminded of a tough time as he replied, “Yeah, let’s not get into details Rich, that’s not important today,” and it was greeted by Eisen’s humorous answer, “That’s what we call I guess a roadblock to getting time with the ones.” The ex-Patriots QB mentioned how in his first spring he didn’t get a lot of practice reps.

But it’s not like the Vikings are blackballing JJ McCarthy or he is facing a similar issue. The team mentioned that they want to nurture him, and their approach is not hurried at all.

How McCarthy is really doing this offseason


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The team mentioned that they don’t want to rush the rookie QB’s growth. Kevin Seifert of ESPN jotted down a couple of details about his progression. Per him, the CFP Champions’ performance has been shaky at times, but he lands bang on target on other occasions. It’s a mixed bag of reactions considering the reporters didn’t see McCarthy going 1-on-1. Moreover, he dropped 3 consecutive passes and Seifert described him as “nothing unusual.”

via Imago

Right now, Sam Darnold is getting the most reps, followed by Nick Mullens, then JJ McCarthy, and Jaren Hall. But what McCarthy lacks in practice, he gets in insights. Darnold, Jefferson, and other team members have taken it upon themselves to make sure that he’s game-ready. Jefferson wants to be the “main person” for the rookie quarterback.


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“There’s going to be people to come and help. Of course, I’m going to be that main person to be in his ear and try to teach him and try to prepare him for what we’re about to go through,” said Jefferson and added, “But I told him this league is tough. It’s not an easy job to come out here and perform at the highest ability, especially as a rookie. But I definitely will be that main person that he can lean on and help throughout the way.”

Jefferson is the leader when it comes to Minnesota’s offense. He became the highest-paid non-QB with his 4-year $140 million extension and rightly so. His advice to JJ McCarthy should be nothing short of pure gems with the season brewing in the background.