Draft Analyst Compares J.J. McCarthy to You Know Who

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How does this sound? The Minnesota Vikings replacing Kirk Cousins — with 21-year-old Kirk Cousins.

Draft Analyst Compares J.J. McCarthy to You Know Who

That’s the word from one draft analyst this week, who compared Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy to Cousins. The rookie quarterback is a would-be Vikings’ draft target, so the connection is a bit ironic.

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Mike Farrell authored the comp and explained on his website Mike Farrell Sports, “Many won’t agree with me here, but hear me out. Whoever trades up to get him at No. 4, and someone likely will, could be getting a Kirk Cousins type for a decade. That’s not so shabby.”

In 23 days, Minnesota will announce a grand climax to the 2024 offseason at the NFL draft, probably a quarterback selection to lead life after Cousins. The Atlanta Falcons signed Cousins three weeks ago, and he’ll take the big job in the NFC South for the next four seasons. In return, Minnesota signed veteran signal-caller Sam Darnold as a patchover quarterback and insurance policy while the Vikings fanbase awaits the team’s rookie quarterback decision.

Vikings mock draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Indiana during the second half of U-M’s 52-7 win over Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Most purple fans, though — even those excited to move on from Cousins — aren’t expecting a Cousins do-over when the next passer takes over. Farrell disagrees.

“McCarthy has more natural talent than Cousins did coming out of college, but they play similar games and are great at running a balanced offense. Minnesota at No. 4 looks great here to replace Cousins, and it would be a good pick,” Farrell added.

Eighteen days ago, the Vikings pulled off an unforeseen pre-draft trade, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. The move positioned general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to move up in the draft via second trade, which could hit at any minute or on draft night. Many believe McCarthy is the Vikings’ target.

9 Looming Predictions
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Cousins quarterbacked the Vikings for six seasons between 2018 and 2023 but hit free agency three weeks ago. With perhaps a little bit of tampering involved, Cousins left Minnesota for the irresistible money dangled by the Atlanta Falcons, fetching a four-year deal worth $180 million. The Cousins Era is over, and Minnesota, as an insurance policy, added the aforementioned Darnold the day after Cousins-to-Atlanta news broke.

And if Farrell’s scouting report is accurate, the Vikings will basically start the clock on a new Cousins, just one 14 years younger.

Vikings Trade
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The Vikings have +100 odds to draft McCarthy, the best in the NFL as of April 2nd. Other quarterback-needy teams like the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and New York Giants could be interested in the Wolverine, as well, if the Washington Commanders or New England Patriots don’t select him in the Top 3.

USC’s Caleb Williams is expected to fly off the board with the Chicago Bears’ draft pick to kick off the event on April 25th.

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).

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