J.J. McCarthy Loses Bet to Vikings Defense on 1st Day of Minicamp

The Minnesota Vikings welcomed quarterback J.J. McCarthy to his first day of rookie minicamp with a wake-up call, a lost wager and a handful of wind-sprints.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported on Friday, May 10, that McCarthy and the defensive unit he faced made a bet involving accuracy, pass-game success and extra exercise.

“As it turns out, McCarthy had jumped right into a friendly competition with the defensive players he faced on the first day of the Vikings’ rookie minicamp,” Seifert wrote. “The stakes were simple: During a 16-play drill, only three (or fewer) of McCarthy’s passes could hit the ground. If that happened, the defensive players would run. If four or more hit the ground, he would have to run.”

McCarthy delivered the results of the contest himself.

“If you guys saw,” McCarthy told reporters, “I was out there running.”

J.J. McCarthy Comfortable as Path to Becoming Vikings’ Starting QB Begins

McCarthy, the quarterback of the reigning National Champion Michigan Wolverines last season, has a substantial NFL learning curve ahead of him. That said, the organization has made it a point to stress that it will not pressure McCarthy onto the field/into a starting role before he’s ready.

That approach has presumably taken some of the weight and pressure off of the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft, who Minnesota traded up to acquire. That is also, perhaps, why McCarthy said he felt at home Friday in his first time on a practice field in a Vikings uniform.

“It didn’t feel like my first day,” McCarthy said. “I’ve been going over the offense for a long time now. So being able to [be] out there and perform and execute, that’s new, but it was nothing that was overwhelming or too much.”

Head coach Kevin O’Connell, a former NFL quarterback himself, spoke to media members as well and discussed the path ahead of McCarthy, along with why he believes the rookie is uniquely equipped to traverse it.

“This guy is a process-driven guy and understands that there’s a long road ahead of him, that we’re just trying to make incremental gains that will be solidified as part of how he plays quarterback for a long time,” O’Connell said. “So I’ve been really impressed with him so far and look forward to get another full day tomorrow.

Sam Darnold Will Challenge for Vikings’ Starting Job, Even if J.J. McCarthy Proves Ready Before Year’s End

Sam Darnold, Minnesota Vikings

When McCarthy reaches the various set of benchmarks laid out before him by O’Connell, he will assume the role of starting quarterback — although Sam Darnold might have something to say about that depending on the timing.

Darnold is in Minnesota on a one-year deal worth $10 million after backing up Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers all the way to a narrow loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in February. He will presumably start the year with a potent offensive set of Vikings skill players around him, which could mean some early and some sustained success.

If McCarthy is ready to start by the Vikings’ standards before his rookie season is up, he will still have to beat out Darnold to get onto the field, which isn’t necessarily a given. Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel recently noted that Darnold might be harder to unseat than some people think.

“I truly feel, based off who Sam Darnold is in that room, whoever comes to Minnesota — if they do indeed go with a quarterback — is gonna have their hands full with Sam Darnold,” Manziel said during his Action Network podcast ahead of the draft in April. “I know that may raise a little bit of red flags and raise a couple heads up off the table, but Sam Darnold can play football. That guy can sling the rock. He was drafted where he was for a reason, and he’s been waiting for a situation like this.”

Related Posts

Mike McCarthy discusses what he expects from Ezekiel Elliott

UDFA QB John Rhys Plumlee Reveals Why He Chose Steelers

With John Rhys Plumlee seeing action at wide receiver at UCF, there was speculation that he could play wide receiver in the NFL, but he put that…

Zach Frazier explains wearing No. 54 with Pittsburgh Steelers

Zach Frazier can’t help his toughness. It’s embedded in his soul. The Steelers rookie loved Pittsburgh’s physical style of play when he was growing up in West Virginia….

Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell Strikes Down Scrutiny Facing Rookie J.J. McCarthy

Thіѕ ѕtаɡe of the NFL offѕeаѕon іѕ fіlled wіth hіɡhlіɡhtѕ аnd lowlіɡhtѕ of pаdleѕѕ prаctіceѕ — whіch Mіnneѕotа Vіkіnɡѕ coаch Kevіn O’Connell аrɡued to not reаd too…

Justin Simmons has 1 classy request to fans about Broncos rookie

The Denver Broncoѕ hаve ɡotten themѕelveѕ іnto а trіcky cаp ѕіtuаtіon. Denver trаded ѕіɡnіfіcаnt аѕѕetѕ for QB Ruѕѕell Wіlѕon from the Seаttle Seаhаwkѕ two yeаrѕ аɡo. The…

Coveted Free Agent Receiver Turned Down Kansas City Chiefs

Zаy Joneѕ ѕіɡned wіth the Arіzonа Cаrdіnаlѕ on Frіdаy, but before joіnіnɡ the Cаrdіnаlѕ on а one-yeаr deаl, he hаd drаwn іntereѕt from the Kаnѕаѕ Cіty Chіefѕ….