ESPN Insider Makes Prediction for Vikings QB1

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Minnesota Vikings during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings own two 1st-Round picks on April 25th, the first night of the 2024 NFL Draft.

ESPN Insider Makes Prediction for Vikings QB1

The club could stick-and-pick at either spot, though most expect general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to trade up the draftboard for a blue-chip quarterback prospect.

Vikings QB1
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

And if he does just that, ESPN’s Field Yates claims the target will be a familiar name: Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Yates posted a predictive mock draft after one week of free agency last weekend, and for Minnesota, the franchise will evidently trade into the No. 5 hole with the Los Angeles Chargers and capture McCarthy as its quarterback of the future.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings need a QB1 because Kirk Cousins left in free agency, joining the Atlanta Falcons eight days ago on a mammoth four-year, $180 million deal. The Cousins era in Minneapolis is over for good, and the purple team is now positioned via roster personnel and salary cap flexibility for a quarterback of the future.

Yates explained McCarthy to the Vikings, “In moving to No. 5, the Vikings jump ahead of the Giants, another team some believe would consider a quarterback (picking at No. 6). Minnesota lost Kirk Cousins to the Falcons in free agency and signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal this week. But while he is still just 26 years old, I do not view the signing of Darnold as prohibitive to drafting a quarterback.”

Vikings Mock Draft
Nov 25, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State lost 30-24. © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings are also Vegas darlings to draft McCarthy, possessing the highest odds of all teams to draft the Wolverine as of March 21st.

Yates added, “That deal just gives the Vikings insurance under center, and Minnesota really needs to reset at the position and find its long-term guy. McCarthy is widely viewed as the fourth-best QB in this class and was sixth in completion percentage last season at Michigan (72.3%). A new era for the Vikings arrives.”

Drops One Hint
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Earlier this week, BR’s Jordan Schultz tweeted, “Sources to Bleacher Report: Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy visited the Giants last week, which included dinner with the front office and a tour of the facility. The Commanders are flying out to Ann Arbor to have dinner Thursday night with McCarthy the night before his Pro Day, per multiple sources.”

So, McCarthy in purple certainly isn’t ironclad — he’ll be heavily sought after — but according to Yates, he’ll ultimately become a Viking via trade on draft night with Los Angeles.

The NFL Draft is five weeks away. The Vikings haven’t spent a 1st- or 2nd-Round pick on a quarterback since 2014 when Teddy Bridgewater turned pro.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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