Vikings Top Draft Target Named One of the “Riskiest” Picks

John Madden Coming to U.S. Bank Stadium on Thanksgiving
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings are 10 days away, and all of the team’s fanbase expects the organization to draft a quarterback.

Vikings Top Draft Target Named One of the “Riskiest” Picks

Kirk Cousins took his talents to Atlanta, becoming a Falcon on a four-year, $180 million price tag. Correspondingly, Minnesota signed Sam Darnold mere hours after Cousins-to-Atlanta, but most view Darnold’s role as QB1 in a patchover quarterback capacity.

Vikings Top Draft Target
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.

So, equipped with two 1st-Round picks after a trade with the Houston Texans on March 15th, the Vikings are forecasted by most to trade up the board on draft night and probably end up with North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. But if it’s McCarthy, well, Bleacher Report claims that’s a risky move.

BR’s Gary Davenport authored an article this week detailing the draft’s “riskiest picks,” and McCarthy made the cut. “There are two types of teams in the NFL — those that have franchise quarterbacks, and those who covet them. Teams in the latter group will do just about anything to join the former—and one this year is going to draft Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy in the top-15—if not the top-10. There has even been some speculation that McCarthy could leapfrog Daniels or North Carolina’s Drake Maye and be drafted inside the top three,” Davenport wrote.

Vikings Vegas Odds
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

McCarthy’s Wolverines won the National Championship three months ago, and his draft stock has soared like a hot air balloon since.

Davenport continued, “There isn’t much McCarthy doesn’t do relatively well. But he doesn’t anything exceptionally well, he tends to hold the ball longer than many of the other prospects in the class and he has less than half the passing attempts in college that Daniels did.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings hold the top odds leaguewide to choose McCarthy, situated around a +100 or +115 moneyline per most sportsbooks as of April 15th. The New York Giants lurk, too, with decent odds around +350. McCarthy just turned 21 in January and checked in at 6’3″ + 219 pounds at the NFL Combine. He’s mobile, can make all the throws required to succeed in the NFL, and is an eternal optimist and a “culture guy,” like Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Davenport concluded and called McCarthy a mobile Kirk Cousins: “If McCarthy doesn’t land with a team that can accentuate his strengths and disguise his shortcomings, he’s going to be looked back on as a reach three years from now.”

ESPN also mock-drafted McCarthy to Minnesota this week and has done so a few times recently.

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.

Davenport also defined other risky picks: Jayden Daniels (QB), Jonathan Brooks (RB), and Xavier Worthy (WR), among others.

Minnesota hasn’t chosen a quarterback in Round 1 or 2 since Teddy Bridgewater a decade ago.


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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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