There’s a New Favorite QB Prospect for the Vikings in the 2024 NFL Draft

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December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during the pregame before the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Ncaa Fiesta Bowl Game

The Minnesota Vikings inevitably will face a very tough decision at the QB position this offseason.

They could decide to keep veteran Kirk Cousins around, or they could look to target a young QB in the upcoming NFL Draft. Earlier this year, mock drafters were sending Oregon QB Bo Nix to Minnesota at high rates, but recently, it seems that the trend has flipped. There is a new favorite QB prospect for the Vikings in Round 1, and that player is Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy.

There’s a New Favorite QB Prospect for the Vikings

Favorite QB Prospect
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

McCarthy has been in the Wolverines’ program for three seasons, but he didn’t take over the starting QB role until his sophomore season in 2022. In total, the former five-star recruit has thrown for 5865 yards, 46 TDs, and 11 interceptions while completing 68.1% of his passes.

He can still add to this total during the 2023 season, though. Michigan was selected as the No. 1 seed in this year’s College Football Playoff, and they are set to take on the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl on January 1st.

According to NFL Mock Draft Database, 17% of 2024 NFL mock drafts have slated McCarthy to the Vikings with the No. 21 pick in this upcoming draft. While, of course, draft order won’t officially be finalized until the NFL season concludes, it seems very likely that the Vikings will own a pick in the early 20s based on their current position in the standings at 6-6.

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Even if the Vikings don’t select McCarthy, it seems like most folks are slating Minnesota to select a QB in the first round. Behind McCarthy, 12% of mock drafts have the Vikings selecting Nix out of Oregon while 11% have them selecting Michael Penix out of Washington.

Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network is one of the minds to have sent McCarthy to the Vikings in a recent mock draft, theorizing, “Kirk Cousins might deserve an extension with the way he played this year, but outlooks are always unclear after Achilles injuries. J.J. McCarthy is a high-upside QB who could sit behind Cousins in the immediate timeline, while also giving Minnesota a succession plan.”

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

McCarthy brings some strong arm talent to the table, which could thrive in Minnesota’s system considering all the weapons they have at their disposal like Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Justin Jefferson. He also brings a sneaky element of athleticism (rushing for 576 yards and 10 TDs over his collegiate career so far).

He may be a player that could use a bit of grooming at the NFL level, but like Cummings suggests, Minnesota could still bring back Kirk Cousins for a year or two while head coach Kevin O’Connell takes McCarthy under his wing to develop him.

Overall, this looks like one of the stronger QB classes of the past few years, and the Vikings could look at the draft board on April 25th with multiple options to choose from. It will be very interesting to see which prospect the Vikings take as it could completely reshape the state of their franchise.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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