One Viking Is Now on the “Perfect Team”

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The Minnesota VIkings’ 2024 season will be a fresh new era, headlined by a new quarterback in J.J. McCarthy and outside linebacker in Dallas Turner after Kirk Cousins left for the Atlanta Falcons in March, with Danielle Hunter joining the Houston Texans.

One Viking Is Now on the “Perfect Team”

And according to ESPN, McCarthy, the on-tap quarterback of the future, is in the perfect spot.

Minnesota Vikings 2024 NFL Draft. Watch as QB J.J. McCarthy addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Friday. The Vikings traded up one spot on the draftboard with the New York Jets for McCarthy.

ESPN labeled about 16 players who landed in perfect spots, and McCarthy made the cut — in the Twin Cities. Matt Bowen wrote, “Why he fits: In Kevin O’Connell’s system, McCarthy will be set up to throw with consistent rhythm on defined concepts, especially to the middle of the field. He completed 75.3% of his passes on throws inside the numbers last season at Michigan, including 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. McCarthy can heat up his pass velocity to drive the ball, attacking tight windows off layered reads — especially with play-action elements rolled in. No NFL team used play-action more than the Vikings in 2023 (30.6% of dropbacks).”

Minnesota used the 10th overall pick on McCarthy following a trade up the board by one spot with the New York Jets. Vikings fans welcomed the maneuver, as many had spent a couple of months believing the franchise would have to trade multiple 1st-Round picks on a quarterback. That didn’t happen.

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Bowen added, “As a passer, McCarthy can target all three levels of the field — short, medium and deep — and he can create outside of structure when necessary. But it’s the core passing/play-action concepts in O’Connell’s offense that really make this fit work. And if McCarthy wins the No. 1 job over Sam Darnold in camp, he will be throwing the ball to a talented group of pass-catchers, led by top-tier wide receiver Justin Jefferson.”

And ESPN is spot on with the McCarthy + Minnesota analysis — so much so that one must wonder, if McCarthy doesn’t take off as the Vikings’ quarterback, what else could have been done differently?

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 team invested in a former quarterback as head coach. Check. Weaponry like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson headline the enterprise on offense. Check. Then, offensive tackles Christian Darrisaw and Brian O’Neill will protect McCarthy for the foreseeable future. Check. If this doesn’t work — drafting McCarthy with this optimal setup — what will?

More sweet fits outlined by Bowen included Rome Odunze to the Chicago Bears, Byron Murphy II to the Seattle Seahawks, and Jayden Daniels to the Washington Commanders, among others.

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Vikings minicamp begins in three weeks.

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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