Recent QB list ranks J.J. McCarthy higher than Daniel Jones and Derek Carr

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy
Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

With the quarterback situation resolved for the Minnesota Vikings, the attention has turned to when J.J. McCarthy will become the starter. But Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports believes McCarthy’s time could be coming sooner than later.

McCarthy was recently ranked 25th in Benjamin’s power rankings on Tuesday morning, putting him in solid company. McCarthy was the second-highest rookie in the rankings behind Caleb Williams of the Chicago Bears (No. 23) and ahead of Jayden Daniels of the Washington Commanders (No. 28) and Bo Nix of the Denver Broncos (No. 30).

“Unlike [Williams,] McCarthy isn’t even guaranteed to start in Week 1,” Benjamin cautioned. “But he’s got arguably the best situation of any rookie signal caller, plopped into a Kevin O’Connell offense with Pro Bowl-level talent at every spot. He’s got an immediate path to success.”

Minnesota Vikings rookie QB J.J. McCarthy already ranking higher than veteran QBs in the NFL

But while McCarthy ranked favorably among his peers, he also ranked higher than several current starters in the league. Derek Carr of the New Orleans Saints checked in at No. 26, while Bryce Young of the Carolina Panthers checked at No. 31, and Daniel Jones of the New York Giants was the last name on the list at No. 32.

This has to be encouraging for Vikings fans who want to see the No. 10 overall pick on the field as soon as possible. While McCarthy had a limited sample size during his time at the University of Michigan, he also ran several pro-style concepts under Jim Harbaugh.

But some also believe that McCarthy may need additional time to develop due to his age (he turned 21 in January) and the nature of Michigan’s offense which featured star running back Blake Corum.

To their credit, the Vikings have made sure they don’t have to rush McCarthy into the starting role before he’s ready. Minnesota signed Sam Darnold to a one-year, $10 million contract in free agency, and they still have Nick Mullens too, who averaged 370 yards and threw six touchdowns in three starts last season.

But Darnold struggled in his last starting jobs with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers while Mullens chucked eight interceptions filling in for Joshua Dobbs and Kirk Cousins. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reported that McCarthy will have to reach several benchmarks before being promoted to the starter role, but if these power rankings are true he may already have a leg up on his competition.

Does this mean McCarthy is already better than Carr, who threw for 3,878 yards, 25 touchdowns, and eight interceptions for the Saints this season? Or is he better than Jones, who shredded Ed Donatell’s defense in the playoffs in 2022, only to tear his ACL last November?

We won’t know until McCarthy sees the field and Vikings fans are eager to find out.

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