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Vikings Draft Michigan Quarterback J.J. McCarthy with 10th Pick

2024.Draft - SOC- 1st-Round Pick Graphic_2560x1440-McCarthy

EAGAN, Minn. — Heeeeere's J.J.

Jonathan James "J.J." McCarthy is a Minnesota Viking.

Many believed the Vikings would need to vault up the draft board, but Minnesota held patient before making a slight move.

The Vikings nudged up from their 11th overall pick to 10th in a trade with the New York Jets on Thursday.

Minnesota sent Nos. 11, 129 and 157 to New York in exchange for the 10th pick and selection No. 203, but the Vikings also preserved the 23rd overall pick by utilizing the patience.

The decision set a franchise record for the highest use of a pick to select a quarterback, topping the use of the 11th overall pick in 1999 to land Daunte Culpepper.

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

McCarthy became the 19th player ever selected in the Top 10 by the Vikings.

Adding McCarthy concludes a deep dive by Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, the personnel department and coaching staff.

Adofo-Mensah mentioned leading up to the draft how the Vikings have studied this year's class of quarterbacks for two years. Minnesota was doing its due diligence if Kirk Cousins opted to depart in free agency.

In the span of one week, Cousins chose an offer by the Atlanta Falcons, and Minnesota promptly added veteran Sam Darnold on a one-year deal and executed a trade with Houston for the 23rd overall pick.

McCarthy and Darnold are joining a Vikings quarterbacks room that also has veteran Nick Mullens and second-year pro Jaren Hall under contract for 2024.

The room will be under the guidance of new quarterbacks coach Josh McCown, who was hired by Minnesota this offseason. McCown's career overlapped with Darnold in 2018 when both played for the Jets.

NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., Pro Football Focus and The Athletic's Dane Brugler each ranked McCarthy as their fourth QB among this year's group of highly touted players. NFL Media's Bucky Brooks rated him fifth.

Vikings Entertainment Network's Tatum Everett caught up with Brooks earlier this month during a visit to NFL Network.

"He is intriguing because he comes from a winning program, 27-1 at Michigan, great leadership ability, great intangibles," Brooks said. "He's willing to sacrifice his own individual success for the team, and then you look at the talent, terrific arm talent, great athleticism. What he doesn't have is a large volume of pass attempts to be able to say I'm ready to see this guy play at the next level."

Jeremiah participated in a nearly two-hour conference call last week and wasn't shy in saying he believes Minnesota provides the "best landing spot" for a young quarterback.

"I would say if you gave truth serum to the quarterbacks and the agents of all the top guys, every single one of them would say they would love nothing more than to go to the Minnesota Vikings," Jeremiah said. "That is by far the best landing spot for any quarterback to go into. I mean, it's all set up from the things that we talk about with the three Ps, with the play caller, the protection, the play makers, check, check, check."

Jeremiah and others have pointed out that Darnold's presence will allow Minnesota to develop the rookie at the pick's pace.

The former scout was asked if McCarthy could land in the top 5, despite being asked to do less in the passing game at Michigan than his draft classmates at their respective schools.

"The best way I heard this explained to me, and I love the way it was said … somebody was watching tape with McCarthy. They were watching a drive and they got into the red zone, and he said, 'Well, you can kind of fast-forward it from here. And he's like, 'Well, what do you mean?' He's like, 'Well, this is just Michigan football from here on in, we're just going to run the ball,' like that's going to work and they're going to get their way in the end zone," Jeremiah said. "And Jim Harbaugh wasn't going to, you know, why, why throw it if you don't have to throw it? And they didn't. [McCarthy told the person], 'We worked on red zone passing every day in practice and put in all the work, and I've got all that experience.'

"So that's why it's a difficult evaluation, because you can see him do everything you want him to do, or that you need a big-time quarterback to do," Jeremiah added. "It's just the numbers, in terms of the volume is not there. So you've got somebody, that if you look at him from a size standpoint, I think he's put on like 15 pounds in the last year. I think he's still growing into his body. He's gonna be a bigger guy.

"Everybody that was at the pro days that I talked to said he threw it as well or better than any of the top quarterbacks. He's got a live, you know big-time, live arm, so you've got enough size, a guy that is still growing, he's got a big arm, he's incredibly smart," Jeremiah continued. "There's things you can latch on to there. You're just going to have to have some faith, and some do and some don't on what you're buying there."

Clearly the Vikings saw enough and liked what they saw.

Vikings analyst Pete Bercich and VEN's Gabe Henderson reviewed McCarthy's college tape for an episode of "Film Room."

"I heard a saying I think is perfect for [McCarthy]," Bercich opened. "Absence of proof is not proof of absence, meaning you've got a couple of years of film. No, he wasn't throwing the ball 40 times a game, but if you take a look at the film, I think he's got what it takes to make it in this league."

Henderson pointed out that McCarthy was asked to throw the football fewer than half of Michigan's offensive snaps but showed he could handle play-action passing and perform well against pressure looks.


2021: 11 games (0 starts); 34-of-59 passing (57.6 percent), 516 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INT; 27 rushes for 124 yards and 2 TDs

2022: 14 games (13 starts); 208-of-322 passing (64.6 percent), 2,719 yards, 22 TDs, 5 INT; 70 rushes for 306 yards and 5 TDs; All-Big Ten Second Team (media) and Third Team (coaches)

2023: 15 games (15 starts); 240-of-332 passing (72.3 percent), 2,991 yards, 22 TDs, 4 INT; 64 rushes for 202 yards and 3 TDs; Won Griese-Brees Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, First-Team All-Big Ten

College totals: 40 games (28 starts); 482-of-713 passing (67.6 percent), 6,226 yards, 49 TDs, 11 INT; 161 rushes for 632 yards and 10 TDs

3 notes

Completions to the right team: McCarthy set Michigan single-season records for completion percentage (72.3) and interception rate (1.2 percent) in 2023 and career records of 67.6 and 1.54, respectively.

27-1: While a team's record goes beyond its quarterback, Michigan went 27-1 with McCarthy as its starter. His winning percentage of 96.4 was the best by a college QB since Toledo's Chuck Ealey (1971) and Oklahoma's Jimmy Harris (1956) capped their careers with marks of 35-0 and 25-0.

"Ice Man": Former Wolverines and current Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh called McCarthy "Ice Man" for his coolness under pressure. It's also fitting that McCarthy's mom was a competitive figure skater, and he started playing hockey at age 5.

Vikings history in NFL Draft

McCarthy is the first former Michigan Wolverine ever drafted in a first round by the Vikings.

He is the 19th player ever drafted in the Top 10 by the Vikings in an NFL Draft and first since Anthony Barr (No. 9) in 2014.

McCarthy is the first quarterback selected in a first round by Minnesota since Teddy Bridgewater in 2014.

He is the 30th QB ever drafted by Minnesota and the fifth selected in a first round.