Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell is taking things slow with incoming rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy, and it's looking more and more like Sam Darnold will end up being the Vikings' starter for the season opener.

O'Connell explained why McCarthy hasn't been taking first team reps throughout offseason workouts during a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.

“It’s a good balance of both, knowing that it’s still just May and June as we work towards the end of this off-season program and we're going to have a competitive training camp, but we do have a plan for J.J., a long-term plan,” O'Connell said. “We see him as our quarterback of the future and when that ultimately starts with him taking game reps under center, will really be about his process of getting there and demonstrating that he's got total comfort in the system.”

So, basically, McCarthy isn't ready just yet, which does not come as much of a surprise.

O'Connell praised McCarthy, saying that the first-year signal-caller is “confirming a lot of the things we thought about him throughout the pre-draft process” and that he's “growing every single day,” but it's clear that he thinks McCarthy needs some work.

Vikings' J.J. McCarthy is a rather polarizing figure

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

McCarthy was the fifth quarterback taken in this year's NFL Draft, going to Minnesota with the 10th overall pick.

However, there were some who felt that McCarthy was not a first-round talent at all, citing his rather tame numbers at Michigan and the fact that he wasn't asked to do a whole lot in Jim Harbaugh's system.

McCarthy led the Wolverines to a national championship last season, throwing for 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 72.3 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 202 yards and three scores.

Obviously, the 21-year-old limited his mistakes, but he didn't post big numbers overall. His statistics pale in comparison to the other quarterbacks who were taken in the first round, and many have expressed concern over McCarthy's physical limitations heading into the pros.

That being said, there are others who love McCarthy's intangibles and think that his attitude will end up leading to a successful NFL career.

He is certainly stepping into a cushy situation with the Vikings, as McCarthy will have arguably the best wide receiver in football in Justin Jefferson at his disposal. Jordan Addison is also a terrific No. 2 wide out, and Minnesota will be getting back injured tight end T.J. Hockenson at some point in 2024.

Of course, it's entirely possible that McCarthy doesn't even register a single start next season if O'Connell doesn't think he is prepared.

If that ends up being the case, we will get to see Darnold make his return as an NFL starter.

We still won't know for another couple of years—at the earliest—if the Vikings made the right decision to draft McCarthy. Remember: Oregon's Bo Nix was still on the board at No. 10 and ended up going to the Denver Broncos two picks later.