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J.J. McCarthy not overwhelmed, hits the ground running during Vikings’ rookie minicamp

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J.J. McCarthy made it look easy during his first practice with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings’ new quarterback was extremely accurate while showing the poise of a much older passer during the first day of rookie minicamp. 

While it wasn’t perfect (he actually threw an interception during 7-on-7 drills), McCarthy largely looked the part of a 10th overall pick. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from McCarthy’s first practice was his ease going through the Vikings’ plays, which is probably the byproduct of McCarthy’s preparation since being drafted by Minnesota. 

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

McCarthy’s dedication was on display this week. He arrived in Minnesota to meet with the coaching staff a day before the start of minicamp. McCarthy then walked through plays on his own prior to Friday’s practice. 

Another takeaway from McCarthy’s day was his conditioning, which was previously considered a question mark given that he had just spent months preparing for the combine, pre-draft visits, etc. But McCarthy arrived in solid physical shape; he was seen running gassers on the field long after practice was over. 

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

The Vikings have a plan to develop McCarthy — both physically and mentally — so that he can be as ready as possible for the start of the regular season. If Friday is any indication of how the process is going, it’s safe to say that McCarthy will be in good shape when the regular season kicks off in September. 

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