Attaches the Naughty Word to J.J. McCarthy Projection

Rookie QB
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.

The 2024 NFL regular season doesn’t start for four months, but some are already content in claiming new Minnesota Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy could be a bust. Attaches the Naughty Word to J.J. McCarthy Projection

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah used Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft to select McCarthy and outside linebacker Dallas Turner from Alabama. Virtually no Vikings fan believed both men were gettable, as Minnesota was expected to trade its 1st-Round assets for a quarterback of the future. But on draft night, McCarthy slid to pick No. 10, where the young executive pulled the trigger on a trade with the New York Jets — while keeping his 23rd overall pick in-house. He then picked Turner after an expensive trade to the 17th spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

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So, it’s a new era in the Twin Cities after Kirk Cousins vamoosed in March for the Atlanta Falcons. Cousins seized $180 million from Atlanta over the next four years while Minnesota kickstarted the quarterback-on-a-rookie-deal era.

And according to, McCarthy is the most likely candidate from the NFC to end up as a bust. Gilberto Manzano picked five possibilities, and regrettably for the Vikings, the young Wolverine topped the list. “McCarthy might have the best surroundings among the first-round quarterbacks, including what Williams has in Chicago. The Vikings get the nod over the Bears because the coaching staff, led by Kevin O’Connell, has proven they can produce a dynamic offense and they have Justin Jefferson,” Manzano wrote.

J.J. McCarthy
Minnesota 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.

Based on the offensive talent surrounding him and the coaching tutelage he’ll receive, McCarthy would have to be pretty terrible not to succeed in Minnesota.

Manzano continued, “McCarthy doesn’t have to be a star signal-caller to turn the Vikings into a playoff team, but teams don’t use top-10 picks on safe game managers. McCarthy received plenty of draft hype because his low volume of throws in a run-heavy Michigan offense somehow gave him more upside because there’s a bit of mystery as to how much the 21-year-old can improve. He doesn’t have the skill set of Maye, the experience of Penix and isn’t as good of a creator as Williams and Daniels.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah & Kevin O’Connell Talk Free Agent Moves, Future at Quarterback & 2023 NFL Draft in Eagan, Minnesota, on April 13th, 2023. Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell joined the organization in January and February 2022, respectively.

The Vikings aren’t strangers to busts: Laquon Treadwell, Christian Ponder, Mike Hughes, and Matt Kalil are some examples from the last 15 years. Fans’ fingers are tightly crossed, though, that McCarthy doesn’t join the naughty list.

Manzano concluded, “That could explain why he was the fifth quarterback taken in the NFL draft. But as a top-10 pick, the Vikings can’t afford McCarthy to be the fifth-best quarterback when it’s all said and done. The bar is set high for McCarthy and we’ll soon learn whether he had the most upside among his peers or he’s just a serviceable signal-caller with limitations. The Vikings are hoping for the former.”

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

McCarthy was the first Vikings quarterback drafted in Round 1 since 2014 and the highest quarterback ever selected by a Vikings general manager. If he doesn’t succeed, there isn’t much else the team’s ownership can do to prop a youngster up for prosperity.

Per oddsmakers, McCarthy has the fourth-best odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2024 (+800).

Manzano also mentioned Jayden Daniels (QB, Washington Commanders), Malik Nabers (WR, New York Giants), Michael Penix Jr. (QB, Atlanta Falcons), and Jordan Morgan (OL, Green Bay Packers) as potential busts.

McCarthy turned 21 in January.

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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