It’s Minnesota McCarthyism

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After about four months of deliberation, the Minnesota Vikings nominated J.J. McCarthy of Michigan as the quarterback of the future six weeks after Kirk Cousins left for the Atlanta Falcons.

It’s Minnesota McCarthyism

Minnesota held the 11th and 23rd picks heading into the event and was expected to trade up the board for Drake Maye or McCarthy, possibly “selling the farm” for a prospect. Instead, Minnesota sold a few pairs of socks.

Minnesota obtained the 10th overall pick from the New York Jets, plus a 6th-Rounder on Saturday in exchange for the 11th pick, a 4th-Rounder and a 5th-Rounder (more info). So, a pick swap(s) to move up the board for the Vikings’ franchise quarterback. And this was after Vikings fans wrestled with the idea of selling three 1st-Rounders for Maye or McCarthy.

Michigan quarterback J. McCarthy (9) warms up before Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Some fans lamented the team missing out the aforementioned Maye, but Minnesota’s front office evidently didn’t want to spend multiple 1st-Rounders via trade. And to each their own. No 1st-Round capital from the future was leveraged.

This week, McCarthy was asked on Adam Schefter’s podcast about possibly joining the Vikings, and he replied, “It would mean the world just because Coach O’Connell, he’s a guy that I’d run through a brick wall for.”

Minnesota had extensive meetings with McCarthy during the draft lead-up process.

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Michigan quarterback J. McCarthy (9) takes a moment to watch TCU celebrate after Michigan lost, 51-45 at the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

McCarthy added, “Everything that he wants to do with his football team is something I want to be a part of and obviously being the NFC North, being a Bears fan my entire life and being able to play at Soldier Field and stay in the Midwest and all that good stuff would be just a dream come true. I love what they’re building. Obviously the weapons there are limitless and they got just a great thing going for them so it would be a blessing to be a part of it.”

At Michigan, McCarthy was notable for delivering in pressure-cooked situations and ranking among the NCAA’s top quarterbacks on 3rd Down. He checked in at 6’3″ and 219 pounds at the NFL Combine, shattering fears that his frame might be too lean. McCarthy is also mobile, which was a main criticism against McCarthy’s predecessor.

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Knocks on McCarthy? Some considered him a “game manager” at Michigan because he wasn’t often asked to put the team on his back. One of his comps during the last few months, somewhat ironically was — you guessed it — Kirk Cousins.

McCarthy will have all the tools necessary to succeed, starting with offensive weaponry like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Aaron Jones. He’ll also have two former quarterbacks, Kevin O’Connell and Josh McCown, nurturing him along the way.

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Michigan quarterback 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.

Minnesota made franchise history with the McCarthy pick, marking the first time ever it used a Top 10 draft pick on a quarterback. It was also the first time since 2014 that the Vikings used Rounds 1 or 2 on a quarterback.

McCarthy is young — he just 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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