Potential Vikings Draft Target Put on a Show on Friday

Minnesota Vikings fans celebrate their win. The New York Giants lose to the Minnesota Vikings, 28-10, in NFL Week 5 on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in East Rutherford. © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com, North Jersey Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

As Skol Nation slowly pivots from the free agency madness to the NFL draft, all eyes are on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He will be in charge of his third draft as the general manager of the Vikings; the results have been mixed. His initial first-rounder, Lewis Cine, has been a non-factor, while his next top pick, Jordan Addison, has been a wonderful addition, and so has UDFA signing Ivan Pace. Other picks like Akayleb Evans, Ty Chandler, Ed Ingram, and Mekhi Blackmon have shown flashes but must be more consistent.

Potential Vikings Draft Target Put on a Show on Friday

Potential Vikings Draft Target Put on a Show on Friday
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.

On April 25, Adofo-Mensah is currently scheduled to pick 11th and 23rd overall after acquiring another first-round draft choice via trade. He is widely expected to pull off a trade to move into the top five and secure Kirk Cousins’ successor in the draft as the signal-caller exited the organization following six years of solid QB play.

USC standout Caleb Williams is the overwhelming favorite to be Chicago’s first overall pick. Jayden Daniels, out of LSU, is favored to go second to Washington, leaving North Carolina’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy unless anything unforeseen transpires.

The New England Patriots could grab Maye third overall to fill their quarterback hole, which has been open since Tom Brady left in 2020. McCarthy’s stock has dramatically risen in recent weeks and months, and there’s a chance he will be off the board when the Giants pick sixth, requiring Adofo-Mensah to trade with the Cardinals or Chargers, who pick fourth and fifth.

Vikings Should Look
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

That man, McCarthy, was a prominent person in the NFL world on Friday when Michigan held its annual Pro Day. QB coach Josh McCown was present to watch him fling the football, and he did quite well, according to ESPN’s draft analyst Matt Miller on X: “JJ McCarthy throwing session lasted about 25 minutes. It was clean—just two clear misses. He showcased zip and touch while hitting a lot of deep routes. He told me he wanted to show his touch placement and did well there. McCarthy has easy power and velocity.”

Touch passes have been a concern of his game, as he primarily showed his arm by throwing lasers rather than touch passes. NFL quarterbacks need to be able to do both to fit the ball into tight windows. Only having a fastball isn’t enough at the pro level, so it is good to see McCarthy showing a more extensive toolbox in that area.

Forced by Broncos
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.

Another issue he eliminated was his frame. Folks were wondering if his slightly above-200-lb body would hold up in the NFL, but he weighed in at 219 lbs at the combine, checking that box.

At the Pro Day, one throw has turned some heads:

It should be noted, however, that many players look good in shorts but fail to deliver in actual games. Zach Wilson famously hit a similar throw at his BYU Pro Day, and he has been a colossal bust. Wilson’s issue has never been his arm, though, as he struggles to read defenses and throw an accurate ball. McCarthy, meanwhile, thrives at reading defenses, and his maturity on and off the field has been on another level.

The quarterback led Michigan to a national championship just a few months ago but hasn’t gotten much credit for that, as he played on a stacked team that heavily featured the rushing attack. One thing people tend to overlook is that he came through when necessary as the top third-down quarterback in college football.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

There are plenty of things to like about McCarthy’s NFL prospects. He has the athleticism and arm to be a good quarterback at the next level. That, paired with his natural leadership skills and football IQ, provides a high ceiling.

On the other hand, he hasn’t had to carry a team, so it is hard to tell if he’d be capable of doing that if required. His production also can’t compete with the numbers of the other top quarterbacks in the draft.

The Vikings will hold a private workout with the 21-year-old. With not just one but two former NFL quarterbacks on the staff, there’s a good chance they will decide whether he’s the guy they want.

Sportsbook favors the Vikings as the next stop in McCarthy’s career.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt