QB Prospect Has “Special” Meeting with Vikings

Drops One Hint
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings are expected to be in the market for a quarterback in April’s draft; at least all signs point towards that theory. With Kirk Cousins’ looming departure, the organization needs to find his successor sooner rather than later, and having the highest draft pick of the last decade is a good starting point to achieve that.

QB Prospect Has “Special” Meeting with Vikings

QB Prospect Has "Special" Meeting with Vikings
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) signs autographs during the national championship celebration at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

While the defender selection shouldn’t be ruled out by any means, defensive coordinator Brian Flores would love to add some talent to the defensive line or the cornerback room. The public focus is understandably on the prospects of drafting a passer in the first round for the first time since 2014 when Teddy Bridgewater joined the club.

The top available QBs are Caleb Williams (USC), Jayden Daniels (LSU), and Drake Maye (North Carolina). They are all expected to be off the board when the Vikings are on the clock unless GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can pull off a costly trade.

Mock Draft Attaches
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports.

More likely is the acquisition of Michigan’s passer, J.J. McCarthy, a player flying up the consensus draft board for weeks. At this year’s scouting combine, the national champion was asked about his meeting with the Vikings, and he was extremely complimentary about the purple team:

Coach O’Connell led the whole thing. Everything they talked about wanting out of a QB aligns with what I want. Just being able to get on the board with them, go through their plays, it was special.

McCarthy met with head coach Kevin O’Connell and newly hired QBs coach Josh McCown. A pair of former NFL quarterbacks encountering young passers and talking to them about their system and some specific plays while evaluating the player is a wonderful combination.

Vikings Should Look
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The former Michigan Wolverine didn’t quite light up the stat sheets like some of the other top prospects, though Michigan’s run-centric offense is to blame for that rather than making any assumptions about the 21-year-old. He is a passer who combines solid athleticism with accuracy and poise, making him an intriguing player for any NFL team.

O’Connell talked about what he values in quarterbacks on Tuesday: “A naturally accurate guy could walk in here and throw the football anywhere they want in this room, and it just makes sense to them when they are picking up that football. And then you talk about smart, tough, accountable, the leadership traits. There’s so much that goes into it.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

McCarthy fits that description pretty well. Accuracy might be one of his strongest traits, and his former coach, Jim Harbough, swears about his leadership abilities.

According to DraftKings, the Vikings are favored to land the passer (tied with the Denver Broncos). One key will be the Atlanta Falcons. They hold the 8th overall pick. If they acquire either Kirk Cousins or Justin Fields, McCarthy could fall to Minnesota, but trading up could be necessary if they don’t. The franchise must also protect against potential trades from Denver and Las Vegas, who could jump them in the draft to land their future quarterback.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt