Latest Mock Draft Continues Vikings’ QB Trend

A Michigan fan cheers from the front row during the second half of the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 8, 2024. © Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Inside the Minnesota Vikings fan community, this man is utterly blowing up.

Latest Mock Draft Continues Vikings’ QB Trend

Suddenly, Vikings loyalists have realized that University of Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy is more than a “game manager” and have subsequently fallen in love with the idea of Minnesota sticking-and-picking the quarterback at the No. 11 spot.

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.

Before last week, many Vikings fans believed the club would have to trade up for Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), or Jayden Daniels (LSU) to find the quarterback of the future. In the last several days, though, McCarthy has morphed into the compromise pick: the Vikings can probably stay put with their organic draft pick, not trade the farm for Williams, Maye, or Daniels, and still prosper.

Accordingly, CBS Sports followed suit in a mock draft with the McCarthy-to-Minnesota momentum on Wednesday. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports plopped McCarthy in the Vikings’ draft spot and opined, “The Vikings go with McCarthy, who has plus arm talent and athleticism, two things the quarterback spot has lacked in Minnesota during the productive Kirk Cousins era.”

Mock Draft Continues
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) signs autographs during the national championship celebration at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Curiously, in Trapasso’s mock, the aforementioned Maye fell to pick No. 5, as the New York Giants — a team handsomely paying Daniel Jones — scooped the Tarheel.

Also this week, DraftKings sets McCarthy-to-Minnesota odds at +300, while FanDuel has attached a +450 moneyline for pairing probability. The Vikings likely won’t have to trade too far up the board for McCarthy and, in fact, may not have to trade any assets at all. The Wolverine could be available to Minnesota organically at pick No. 11. Along with Oregon’s Bo Nix, the Vikings appear to be a sportsbook frontrunner to nab McCarthy or Nix.

the QB to Avoid
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, who is 6’3″ and 200 pounds, turned 21 last month, so this would-be plan by the Vikings could have value, especially if the Vikings re-sign Kirk Cousins for a year or two. Allowing a young quarterback to watch and learn for a year or two has worked for the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers in recent years.

The only real question on McCarthy is whether he was the straw that stirred the drink at Michigan or if the program around him enabled him to thrive. Until the last couple of weeks, most settled on the latter.

General Opinion Has
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

More will be known about the Vikings’ draft plan in the next four weeks, whether drafting McCarthy or exploring a different quarterback in the draft. Cousins is set to hit free agency, but if Minnesota re-signs him to a short-term deal, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could think defensively in the draft’s 1st Round, grabbing an EDGE rusher, defensive tackle, or cornerback.

But as of February, most Vikings faithful have awoken to the possibility that McCarthy could eventually thrive as a Viking.

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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