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5 Things to Know About Vikings 1st-Round Pick J.J. McCarthy

EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings made a move for McCarthy.

Minnesota drafted Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy with the 10th overall selection of the 2024 NFL Draft. The pick came after the Vikings traded the 11th, 129th and 157th overall picks to the Jets in exchange for No. 10 and No. 203.

McCarthy was the fifth quarterback tabbed in this year's draft, following Caleb Williams (Chicago) at No. 1, Jayden Daniels (Washington) at No. 2, Drake Maye at No. 3 (New England) and Michael Penix, Jr., at No. 8 (Atlanta).

The selection of McCarthy marks the highest Minnesota has ever drafted a quarterback. The previous highest was Daunte Culpepper at No. 11 in 1999.

McCarthy was named the Big Ten Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year after his 2023 season in which he started 15 games for the National Champion Wolverines and racked up 2,991 passing yards and 22 passing touchdowns, in addition to three rushing touchdowns.

Over three seasons for Michigan, McCarthy started 28 of 40 games played and was 482-of-713 passing (67.6 percent) for 6,226 yards and 49 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also totaled 161 carries for 632 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

Here are five things to know about the Vikings new quarterback:

  1. Record setter

McCarthy set Michigan program records in single-season completion percentage (72.3 in 2023), career completion percentage (67.6) and lowest career interception percentage (1.54).

His completion percentage of 72.3 last season ranked sixth in FBS.

  1. Played hockey first

McCarthy's mom, Megan, was a competitive figure skater, and she introduced her son to the ice when she put him in skates as a toddler.

"[Hockey] was actually my first love," McCarthy told Detroit Free Press in 2019.

McCarthy spent most of his youth playing hockey and football and had to decide "around freshman year of high school" which sport he wanted to more pointedly pursue.

"It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make," he said.

View photos of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy who was selected No. 10 overall in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

  1. Penguin pal

McCarthy hasn't ever (we assume) hung out with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he did have the opportunity to meet penguins of a different variety.

He and his fiancée Katy were welcomed in February 2023 by the Detroit Zoo, where they were given a unique behind-the-scenes experience.

  1. For the kids

McCarthy has athletics in his genes, but he also has philanthropy.

Jim and Megan McCarthy led fundraising efforts in their hometown of La Grange, Illinois, for the St. Baldrick's Foundation for Children with Cancer, and their dedicated work was recognized when they received the 2013 Spirit of the YMCA Award.

The couple has emphasized "purpose over fame" to McCarthy, who donated his NIL funds to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital of Ann Arbor and Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Since 2021, more than $30,000 has been donated and distributed.

In 2022, McCarthy launched the J.J. for the Kids Foundation to "make a difference in the lives of kids" in Ann Arbor and Chicago.

  1. Meditator & mental health advocate

McCarthy's meditation before games has been well-documented, with him sitting against a goal post with his legs crossed, eyes closed and feet bare.

According to Jenn McKee of the Detroit Free Press, McCarthy meditates "when and where he needs to ground himself the most: on the field on game day."

McCarthy's discovery of meditation started during his senior year of high school, when he faced strict social-distancing guidelines of the COVID-19 pandemic and "first experienced symptoms of depression."

"I just want to spread awareness of the practice and let other kids out there who are struggling with mental health or looking to improve themselves in any way, they can try it out," McCarthy said in a Big Ten Network interview