Vikings Rumors: McCarthy Already Better, A New Buzzword, and Jefferson’s Extension Obliterator

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Ohio State during the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023.

Even though we’re officially into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are slowing down, we’ll still be highlighting some of the purple rumblings.

The “Vikings Rumor Wrangle” is a series that keeps readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss J.J. McCarthy already being the better quarterback, the new buzzword for Brian Flores’ defense, and Justin Jefferson’s extension obliterating all challengers.

Vikings Rumors: 06.19.2024

Rumor #1 — Per One QB Expert, J.J. McCarthy is Already Better Than Sam Darnold

Well, the rankings leave one with that impression.

NBC’s Chris Simms, who used to play quarterback in the NFL, tossed J.J. McCarthy into his hierarchy at 30th whereas Sam Darnold was down at 33rd. The rookie is coming off of a national championship as a Wolverine and it’s entirely possible he’s already better. McCarthy gets tossed into the “Ready Rookies” tier while Darnold lives in the “Young & Reckless” tier.

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever it’s worth, head coach Kevin O’Connell puts Darnold at the top of the QB hierarchy.

“We haven’t had to put out a depth chart or anything like that,” O’Connell notes, “but yeah I would say Sam would be the guy I would look to based upon the spring he’s had. And really where’s he at in his career, in his quarterback journey. And what he’s been able to do coming in and really hit the ground running and really kind of take advantage of a competitive situation.”

If a game had to played tonight, Darnold would be the one taking snaps from Garrett Bradbury.

Rumor #2 — The Vikings’ Defense Has a New Buzzword Floating Around

The word is out: Brian Flores wants to confuse offenses.

The new defensive line coach confirmed as much in his debut press conference with the Minnesota media. When asked to reflect on the Flores defense, Marcus Dixon brought things back to confusion: “I think for the philosophy, it’s making sure we try to confuse the offense as much as possible. Keep the offense on their heels as much as possible.”

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores watches his team play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Not too long ago, Mike Pettine said something similar. “Flo has never been one,” Pettine explains, “where you just kind of line up. And here we’re 4-3, and here’s our 4 down linemen and it’s easy to identify.” Pettine then describes how “the ability to create confusion for offenses to me is critical.”

So, what’s the key to the Flores defense? Yes, aggression is a major part of it, but creating confusion is a key ingredient, as well.

Rumor #3 — Justin Jefferson’s Extension Obliterates its Rivals

Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap wrote a reasonably lengthy consideration of Jefferson’s extension after the news emerged, so there’s some discussion of how #18’s deal “obliterate[s]” the other receiver deals.

One of the key quotes: “I would consider the WR market, prior to this deal, to be around $28.5 million per year. That would include Amon-Ra St Brown at a true value of $28 million, Jaylen Waddle at $28.25 million, and AJ Brown at $28.4 million. To get from $28.4 to 35 million a year would indicate a 23.2% market increase which is absolutely gigantic.”

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a touchdown pass as Carolina Panthers cornerback D’Shawn Jamison (29) defends in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Fitzgerald then connects things to Nick Bosa, stating that the 49ers’ star edge rusher is the real comparable for Mr. Jefferson: “So this is truly a contract that exceeds the market by far more than people realize and values Jefferson in line with a totally different group of players.”

Justin Jefferson turned 25 over the weekend. Quite possibly, he’s still getting better.

Minnesota has the man under contract for the remainder of his 20s and will be hoping he keeps achieving history while wearing the purple and gold. The new extension ensures he’ll be well compensated while doing so.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.