NFL Draft Scouts Claim Trade May Not Be Required for Vikings’ Next QB

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The top quarterback target for the Minnesota Vikings, according to oddsmakers, is Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

NFL Draft Scouts Claim Trade May Not Be Required for Vikings’ Next QB

He possesses around +110 odds to land in the Twin Cities on draft night after a mighty climb up the draftboard in the last three months. But per ESPN’s Matt Miller, the NFL’s scouting community believes McCarthy will slide out of the Top 10 — and presumably into the Vikings’ lap at pick No. 11.

NFL Draft
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Miller wrote Wednesday, “I asked 10 anonymous scouts from around the league to each serve as the decision-maker for a team picking in the top 10, letting them make the pick based on that roster’s needs and how they evaluate this intriguing class.”

And these were the 10 picks:

  1. Bears: Caleb Williams (QB)
  2. Commanders: Drake Maye (QB)
  3. Patriots: Jayden Daniels (QB)
  4. Cardinals: Marvin Harrison (WR)
  5. Chargers: Joe Alt (OT)
  6. Giants: Malik Nabers (WR)
  7. Titans: Rome Odunze (WR)
  8. Falcons: Quinyon Mitchell (CB)
  9. Bears: Byron Murphy (DT)
  10. Jets: Taliese Fuaga (OT)

One would surmise that NFL scouts are plugged in more than most, so the McCarthy development is noteworthy. The indication, too, is that Minnesota could stick-and-pick at No. 11 with McCarthy while using its 23rd overall pick on another prospect, probably a defensive player.

Judgment Day
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Miller noted his reaction to the scouts’ opinions, “This was a chance to learn a lot about how evaluators truly see this class and how pressure to fill needs — especially at quarterback — influence what general managers will do. These scouts attacked core positions with their picks, including quarterback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive tackle and cornerback. However, it’s notable that none of our GMs drafted McCarthy, who is ranked No. 19 on my board but is also widely expected to be drafted in the top six. (No trades certainly impacted that.)”

Most mock drafts predict Minnesota to move up the board — as high as pick No. 2 with a Washington trade — to target Drake Maye or McCarthy. If Miller’s scouts are correct, everyone will have been wrong.

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.

“Outside of McCarthy not being selected, Mitchell and Murphy making the top 10 were probably the biggest surprises for me. I’m a fan of Mitchell’s game — he is ranked No. 15 on my board — but I wasn’t expecting him at No. 8. And while Murphy is No. 13 overall for me, I haven’t seen too many top-10 predictions on him. I was also a little surprised to see Turner not get picked anywhere here, considering he’s seventh in my rankings. But this is the kind of stuff that makes the draft fun and unpredictable,” Miller added.

Ironically, this theory would keep the Vikings on the sidelines of history once again, as Minnesota has never used a Top 10 draft pick on a quarterback. Retaining the 23rd pick, though — free of any trade — would be welcomed by every Vikings fan.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The draft is eight days away.

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