Vikings leaving door open for J.J. McCarthy to be their Week 1 starter

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy
Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

It's been less than two months since the Minnesota Vikings made the decision to select former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy with the 10th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Since becoming a member of the Vikings, McCarthy has participated in every single OTA and minicamp practice that the team has held during the last few weeks.

He hasn't spent much time working with Minnesota's first-team offense, but that could potentially be changing at some point in the near future.

J.J. McCarthy still not being ruled out as QB1 for the Minnesota Vikings

On Wednesday, Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell revealed Sam Darnold will be the team's No. 1 quarterback heading into training camp this summer. However, O'Connell also made sure to let everyone know that Darnold's name is not written in permanent marker at the top of Minnesota's quarterback depth chart.

"We haven't had to put out a depth chart or anything like that. But yeah, I would say Sam [Darnold] would be the guy I would look to based upon the spring he's had, and really where he's at in his career and his quarterback journey, and what he's been able to do coming in and [hitting] the ground running and taking advantage of a competitive situation.

But at the same time, J.J.'s really improved, Nick Mullens has had a great spring, and Jaren [Hall] has also improved. So I've told all four of those guys, 'Look, depth charts are great, and it's great to understand where I'm at currently, today, but that'll mean really nothing about the future, that'll be nothing about a week or two out.'"

So, sure Darnold is currently ahead of McCarthy on the Vikings' imaginary depth chart, and Nick Mullens might even be ahead of the rookie too.

But O'Connell knows Minnesota still has a ways to go before they step on the field for their 2024 regular-season opener against the New York Giants on September 8th. There's still a lot of time for other members of the Vikings' quarterback room, including McCarthy, to surpass Darnold on the depth chart.

Are the chances extremely high that McCarthy is going to emerge as Minnesota's starting signal-caller during training camp this summer? No, but they're certainly not at zero, and the Vikings like what they've seen from the rookie so far.

Sometimes, all people need to succeed is a glimmer of hope, and O'Connell definitely gave that to McCarthy with his comments on Wednesday.

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