Former Pro Bowl QB Sends Strong Message on Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings

Getty J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings have had 20 quarterbacks start a game since October 30, 2005. That is when former franchise QB Daunte Culpepper took his last snap for the organization. Only three of those quarterbacks were drafted by the Vikings.

They have drafted nine quarterbacks in that span, including rookie J.J. McCarthy.

In town for the Vikings Foundation Golf Tournament, Culpepper had good things to say about the next hopeful franchise QB.

“He’s a baller. He’s definitely a baller. I got a chance to meet the rookies (on June 13). I met J.J. McCarthy,” Culpepper told KTSP’s Alec Ausmus on June 14. “He’s a solid, solid young man, and he’s going to be an even better quarterback, I think. He has a lot of upside and a lot of ability.”

McCarthy is the highest-drafted QB in Vikings franchise history.

Culpepper was the No. 11 overall pick in the 1999 draft. That was the slot the Vikings sat in before trading up with the New York Jets to select McCarthy. The Vikings have used two other first-round picks on QBs between the three-time Pro Bowler, Culpepper, and the rookie.

J.J. McCarthy Snaps 1st Round Drought for Vikings QBs

J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJ.J. McCarthy #9 of the Minnesota Vikings.

McCarthy is the first QB drafted by the Vikings in the first round in a decade. They selected Christian Ponder with the No. 12 pick in 20011 and then Teddy Bridgewater at No. 32 in 2014.

Ponder went 14-21-1 in four seasons with the Vikings and was out of the league by 2017.

Similar to Culpepper before him, a devastating knee injury ended Bridgewater’s tenure with the Vikings. Bridgewater also joined two of the same organizations as Culpepper after his Vikings days, suiting up for the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins before retiring this offseason.

Kirk Cousins’ arrival in free agency in 2018 explains the seven-year drought for such an investment in the position by the organization.

The Vikings’ plans to draft a QB also played a part in Cousins’ departure this offseason.

“[Cousins] decided to leave Minnesota … because the Vikings were very up front with the 35-year-old about the possibility that, even in the case he stayed, they’d take a quarterback of the future high in the draft,” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote on May 6. “Tying that together with the team’s willingness to guarantee part, but not all, of a second year on another contract, Cousins figured that, if he stayed, there was a good shot that he’d be on the move in 2025.

J.J. McCarthy Behind Veteran Journeyman on Depth Chart

J.J. McCarthy, Sam Darnold, Jaren Hall, Nick Mullens, Minnesota Vikings

GettyQuarterbacks J.J. McCarthy #9, Sam Darnold #14, Jaren Hall #16 and Nick Mullens #12 of the Minnesota Vikings.

McCarthy’s day will come. But not before he is ready and perhaps only if Sam Darnold fails to deliver on the promise that made him the No. 3 overall pick in 2018. The latter certainly has the confidence of Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and familiarity with the offense.

He has also performed well during the offseason program by all accounts.

The Vikings want to bring McCarthy along with purpose. But they are not putting any reins on him in the race to be the starter. The Vikings’ QB battle might not only be between them either.

“We’re really excited about Sam,” O’Connell said on “Mad Dog Sports Radio” on June 11. “I feel strongly about his ability to continue his, even at this point in his career, continue his development and what can he become within playing quarterback in our offense with the type of players we have around him, all well knowing that we’re going to have a competitive environment with J.J. McCarthy, with Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall.”

Mullens and Hall were 1-4 combined last season. Darnold was 4-2 in his last stint as a starter.