NFL’s Most Accurate Mock Drafter Predicts Vikings Pick

The NFL Draft.

It will be J.J. McCarthy, he says.

NFL’s Most Accurate Mock Drafter Predicts Vikings Pick

Over the last five years, Brendan Donahue of Sharp Football Analysis has been the internet’s top mock drafter per accuracy. His working theory for this draft is McCarthy to the Minnesota Vikings via trade with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Mock Draft
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

The prediction confirms many Vikings fans’ preexisting theory that McCarthy will end up in purple. In fact, as of April 17th, Minnesota’s next quarterback feels like a binary choice between McCarthy and North Carolina’s Drake Maye — two men who play quarterback.

Donahue explained the McCarthy-to-Minnesota pick, “Based on the Pro Football Reference trade value chart, the two first-round picks that Minnesota currently holds at 11 and 23 can get them to five. This seems like the more likely scenario as the Vikings will want to get in front of the Giants. The Vikings to be the team to draft McCarthy is favored at +115, and McCarthy to be selected 5th overall is +400 on BetMGM.”

vikings QB
December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback J McCarthy (9) throws a pass during the pregame before the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. NCAA Fiesta Bowl Game

Donahue’s body of work compared to his peers in the last half-decade can be read here. It’s worth noting, however, that Donahue incorrectly picked Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks for Minnesota last year. The Vikings selected wide receiver Jordan Addison, who blasted off in Minnesota’s offense out of the gate.

In Donahue’s mock, the Chargers grabbed Minnesota’s 11th and 23rd picks and chose offensive tackle JC Latham (Alabama) and wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (Texas).

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 necessary to succeed in the NFL, and helped Michigan win a National Championship. He’s been all the rage for Vikings fans in the last two months.

Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

Moreover, Donahue’s mock isn’t unique. For most mock draft outfits, Minnesota seems to have an either-this-or-that choice between trading up the board for McCarthy or Maye. A few mocks link the Vikings to Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., though a splashy trade likely won’t be required for that plan.

Per ESPN, in a mock draft authored by Mel Kiper, Field Yates, and Jordan Reid, Minnesota will end up with McCarthy after a trade with those same Chargers. Kiper was in charge of Minnesota’s trade and pick. He explained, “Because I have the odd-numbered picks in this three-round draft, I ended up with everything I needed to make this deal happen myself. So, here’s what it would look like: Vikings get: No. 5 | Chargers get: Nos. 11 and 23 plus a first-round pick in 2025.”

Vikings Vegas Odds
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

So, on the whole, the mock draft community — even the most accurate gurus — claim it will be McCarthy for Minnesota.

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 MIN 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