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13-Year-Old 'J.J. Vikings' Winning Hearts & Fans in Pursuit of NFL Analyst Dream

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Every day, 13-year-old J.J. Anyeacho sits down in front of a microphone to talk Vikings football.

Behind him is a homemade backdrop showcasing various Norseman banners, a pennant, a purple-and-gold lanyard and a small shelf holding two pro-sized footballs. There's a personalized neon sign, gifted to J.J. by a fellow Vikings podcaster, and perhaps his most prized possession: yellow cleats previously worn by Vikings cornerback NaJee Thompson.

"Being a content creator is tough. You have to find something to talk about every single day," J.J. said recently during a virtual interview. "You have to post content consistently. YouTube – or any social media platform, for that matter – treats you well if you're consistent."

J.J. has earned quite the following over the past year. He's drawn more than 4,000 followers on X (formerly Twitter), on which his bio reads, "Just a teenager determined to become an NFL analyst for the Minnesota Vikings."

Don't doubt this young man for a second.

J.J. is deeply dedicated to his goals, coming home from his Massachusetts middle school each day to make a video that tackles a specific Vikings topic.

Vikings JJ Podcast

The 2023 season might be over, but he hasn't slowed his efforts. In fact, J.J. pointed out there's sometimes even more to discuss ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine, free agency and the NFL Draft.

J.J.'s connection to the Vikings is a special one.

His mother Mabel immigrated to the United States from Cameroon in 2008 and settled in Minnesota, where J.J. was born two years later. When J.J. was just 5 months old, his biological father passed away. It was when his mom met and settled with a Minnesota native in 2015 that J.J. gained a stepdad who introduced him to NFL football and specifically the Vikings.

"We watched some games together, and that's how I got knowledge of the sport and ran with it," J.J. said.

One of the first games he remembers with great detail is Week 11 of the 2016 season, when Minnesota hosted the Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"Cordarrelle Patterson had a kickoff return touchdown, and I think that's when I started to fall in love with the way he played," J.J. recalled.

JJ Throwback Collage

He was just 7 years old during the Vikings 2017 season in which they went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game.

J.J. still calls 2017 the best year of his life, largely in part to the Vikings success.

"To all those players – Case Keenum, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Jarius Wright, Kyle Rudolph … I cannot thank them enough for making a 7-year-old like me such a huge Vikings fan," he said. "The Minneapolis Miracle game was the closest thing to a Super Bowl."

Relocating to California in 2018 and then Massachusetts in 2022 has been difficult for J.J., who misses the throngs of Vikings fans as well as the African communities he and his family connected with during their time in the Twin Cities.

And while he hopes to one day return to Minnesota, J.J. hasn't let the distance stop him from pursuing big-time goals with his favorite team.

Vikings JJ and Bynum

At age 10, he decided he wanted to learn the art of in-game commentary. He'd watch Vikings games and mute the TV audio, providing his own observations to an imagined audience.

But it proved more difficult than J.J. initially anticipated.

"I realized I was fumbling on a lot of words and couldn't quite keep up with the flow of the game, so I decided to try pregame and postgame analysis," he explained, noting he especially likes watching Michael Strahan and the NFL on FOX studio crew.

When J.J. told his mom he wanted to be an analyst for the Vikings, Mabel assured she'd support his dream in whatever way she could.

Mabel received her degree in broadcast journalism in Cameroon and, though she says she knows very little about American football, has been able to impart wisdom from the media side of things.

"When I worked as a journalist back in Cameroon, I covered sports, but it was soccer. Ninety-five percent of the time, I don't know what he's talking about," Mabel admitted, chuckling. "But I help him how I can. I was impressed."

With a smile, J.J. referred to Mabel as "my mom … and my manager."

Vikings JJ and Mabel

She laughed warmly at the title, quipping that managers typically are paid for their services. But she's so proud listening to J.J. and the way he's applied Mabel's instruction.

"She taught me to always have verve in your voice. Have passion in your voice. And always have a way to express yourself without having to yell into the microphone," J.J. said. "I think that's the best way to be a journalist, in terms of vocal points. … I'm glad I've had my mom with me to help me through all these steps."

The two often talk about returning to Minnesota down the road, should a job opportunity arise for Mabel.

"I support him 100 percent. He's missed chances to see the game just because we're out of town," she said. "I'm open to moving back to Minnesota if the opportunity is there so he can live his life and do whatever he wants to do."

Vikings JJ and Gabe

J.J. already has garnered attention from Vikings players and local media members, including Vikings Entertainment Network's Gabe Henderson and Tatum Everett, as well as FOX 9.

Safety Cam Bynum joined J.J.'s podcast during this past season, and guard Dalton Risner was a guest shortly after Minnesota's final game.

"It was amazing. You think you're gonna handle it so well and be so professional, but the second they come on, it's like, 'Oh my gosh, an NFL player's in here with me,' " J.J. said. "I've found a way to work through that and just let my words take me in a positive direction. Make sure to ask the right questions. And it's very important to make sure these players feel heard and ask them good follow-up questions."

"Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen learned of J.J. through social media and was impressed not only by the young man's drive and passion for the Vikings but also by his thoughtful approach to the craft.

"In what can be a negativity-first society, J.J. has a gifted way of handling touchy subjects with poise, fairness, kindness and grace. At first, like many, I was smitten by the fact a teenager in Massachusetts consistently was opining on the Vikings," Allen said. "It went from 'Hey, this is pretty cool,' to, 'Wow, this kid knows what he's talking about, puts in the work and clearly is dedicated to getting ahead of the curve in terms of giving himself the best chance to live a dream, which would be working for the Vikings or the NFL.' "

After interacting a few times with J.J., Allen invited him on his 9 to Noon radio show on KFAN.

Allen sought to give J.J. a chance to "react quick-twitch," a necessary skill to develop should he advance to the professional field.

"I also wanted to give his YouTube channel some exposure via broadcasting (KFAN) and narrowcasting (my Twitter)," Allen explained. "And finally, I crave different – and for decades [I've given individuals] a chance to spread their wings and enjoy this gift of a radio show God presented me 26 years ago.

"He knocked it out of the park, and I plan to have him on the show up to the draft," Allen added.

J.J. called the interview with Allen "an amazing experience."

"There's something about Paul Allen where, he's such a fun guy that whenever you go on his show, it feels comfortable to just be yourself," J.J. said. "It feels right to kind of take out 10 percent of the professionalism and fill that in with fun – because of how great of a person he is. That's what really made me feel very welcome on his show."

Allen isn't the first among the Vikings community to support J.J.'s goals of being an NFL analyst.

Last summer, a group that included fellow Vikings YouTube creators Vocal Vike and The Purple and SKOL'd Media – "I call them my uncles," J.J. noted – as well as other Vikings content creators and dedicated fans, raised money to pay for J.J. and Mabel to fly to Minnesota, stay in a hotel and attend the Vikings Week 1 game against the Buccaneers.

"I'm just so grateful," J.J. said. "I always tell my fans, 'I can't succeed without you guys. It's amazing all the stuff they've done for me."

During his visit to Minnesota, J.J. received a tour of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and was checking out the auditorium when he ran into a face he recognized.

"Excuse me, are you NaJee Thompson?" J.J. asked.

Thompson, an undrafted rookie who was giving his own family a tour," lit up at the acknowledgement.

"I'm not sure the average fan would have recognized him, but I'm glad that I did. I had a feeling that made him feel special," said J.J., who was gifted a pair of cleats by Thompson. "Being a UDFA, you're not really a recognized player [at first]. After meeting NaJee and after what he did for me, I want to make sure players in his shoes are also recognized and heard, as well."

Vikings JJ and NaJee

Mabel said it has been "really beautiful to see" the love and generosity shown her son from the Vikings community.

But talk to J.J. for just a few minutes, and you'll soon understand the kindness he receives is a natural response to his own thoughtfulness and genuine character.

Most reactions to J.J.'s Vikings videos and career pursuits have been met with positivity and friendly banter on his various platforms. But as most social media users know all too well, comments of the cruel and derogatory nature also pop up from time to time.

When asked about how he handles those situations, J.J. pauses for a moment to think before answering.

"I kind of have to ignore it and hope the person sending those messages is OK. After all, we might have our own struggles in life and might want to take them out on someone else," he said. "Some haters are just gonna hate. But negativity is something that only slows you down, and I don't let it. I feel for those people."

Vikings JJ and Mattison

Rather than respond to unkind feedback, J.J. will continue chasing his dreams with a smile.

After all, it's what his mother has taught him. And they're a team.

"He's teaching me a lot when it comes to American football. Because of J.J., it was in 2022 I sat down and watched a whole football game – the Vikings and Patriots on Thanksgiving night," Mabel said. "I began showing interest in it when he started his YouTube channel and would say, 'OK, hmm. OK, it makes sense why it's three hours long now.' One less thing I'm ignorant about, I will say. American football.

"And J.J. also sits down and watches soccer with me, so now he gets that, as well," she added with a smile. "We're helping each other."