Why J.J. McCarthy was running gassers at Vikings’ rookie camp

J.J. McCarthy put on a Minnesota Vikings’ practice jersey in front of reporters for the first time last Friday at the team’s rookie minicamp.

The No. 10 overall pick was in a gambling mood, and put a challenge on the defense. They got 16 reps in a live situation, and if three or fewer passes fell incomplete, the defense had to run. If it was four or more, McCarthy had to run.

McCarthy lost.

"So if you guys saw, I was out there running," McCarthy said.

A full gasser in football is defined as a 107-yard sprint, 53.5 yards down and back, twice. It’s often a penalty for players not listening to coaches in practice, or repeatedly getting a drill wrong. In McCarthy’s case, it was a lost bet.

It was also a chance for the new Vikings quarterback to get to know his new teammates. He put on his practice jersey for the first time, and you couldn’t blame him if he had to pinch himself.

"I was more anxious than anything. Just waiting so long to get back to real football. Being in this league, it’s a dream come true as a kid," McCarthy said. "Being able to be out there with the guys and live your dream is truly special. I was just trying to be present, take in the moment."

It might not be long before McCarthy is battling Sam Darnold for the starting job.


The Vikings couldn’t believe Dallas Turner was available when they traded up to get the No. 17 pick. They grabbed the Alabama edge rusher who had 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in his final college season.

It took all of one word as he stepped to the podium in front of the media to know he’d be a fan favorite early on.

"Skol, how’s everybody doing?" Turner said.

Rookie minicamp is a chance for young players to impress coaches. It’s a lot of learning in the film room and at walk through. When it’s time to apply it in practice, players are extra excited to work for the first time. Turner compared it when parents have their toddlers on leashes in public.

"You ever seen when the little kids in public and their mom has the backpack leash on them? It’s kind of like that. They want to go out there and run, play and do all this stuff. Mom is like no, come back here," Turner joked. "It’s kind of like easing us into it."