Adam Thielen Gives Verdict on Minnesota’s New QB

The Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets held a joint training camp practice at Wofford in Spartanburg on Aug. 9, 2023. Adam Thielen (19) of the Carolina Panthers waves to fans.

The Minnesota Vikings will have a new starting quarterback in Week 1 for the first time since Kirk Cousins joined in 2018. It will either be Sam Darnold, the free-agent signing, or rookie J.J. McCarthy, who the Vikings acquired in exchange for the tenth overall pick. The latter has drawn some exciting praise from a former Viking.

Adam Thielen Gives Verdict on Minnesota’s New QB

adam thielen
Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates his touchdown with tight end MyCole Pruitt (83) during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Thielen’s journey with the Vikings has been remarkable. Growing up as a Vikings fan, Thielen surprisingly landed a spot on the training camp roster in 2013 and, after a year on the practice squad, carved out a career with his favorite team, chasing the records of his childhood idols.

The Vikings released their hometown hero in the 2023 offseason after an underwhelming 2022 season. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah saved a bunch of cap space and drafted Jordan Addison as his replacement while the wideout moved on to the Carolina Panthers.

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.

Last week, Thielen shared a video clip of a workout where he caught passes from McCarthy. After seeing the passer in person, he should have a good understanding of how talented he is, and the good news is that he shared his experiences with the rookie on KFAN, talking with Paul Allen.

He has all the tools. He can sling it; he’s super accurate. We’re in shorts and t-shirts out there, but you can see a lot just from accuracy, timing, when you’re running around out there.

He’s a great kid. You don’t realize that he’s only 21 years old when you’re talking to him, when you’re hanging around. He’s got a maturity about him that you can tell that goes beyond his age. And, you know, that’s step number one as a QB, to have that maturity level, to have that kind of poise or kind of that aura around you that just feels like confidence and just a good good person.

Adam Thielen about J.J. McCarthy

Adofo-Mensah spent the tenth overall pick to acquire Michigan’s passer. As a 21-year-old rookie, nobody expects him to be perfect, so seeing him throw when he is away from the team is encouraging, especially to actual NFL talent. Thielen has a lot of experience and has played with various QBs over the years, which might help McCarthy.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates after the 34-13 win over Washington to win the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

The receiver’s evaluation should be taken with a grain of salt, as he obviously can’t talk badly about him. However, he claimed more workouts will happen in the future, which implies that he did a decent job.

The passer showed some intriguing traits in his college days at Michigan. He possesses the required athleticism to thrive in today’s NFL and can make plays with his feet to either extend plays or generate yards by using his legs as a runner. His arm strength is also noticeable. Still, he must refine some mechanics to enter starter conversations, and throwing in the offseason is necessary to get used to the changes.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes a pass against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

McCarthy’s trajectory will be fascinating to watch in the near future. He will compete with Sam Darnold for the starting QB spot. The Vikings have clarified that they want to be cautious with his development, and he shouldn’t be considered the favorite to land the job as the Week 1 starter, but it can’t be ruled out either.

The rookie is scheduled to arrive at TCO Performance Center for training camp on July 21.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and prefers Classic rock over other genres. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt