Minnesota Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy was more than ready to be a Viking

Vikings’ J.J. McCarthy wanted one team to draft him
from Zac Wassink, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

It appears Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy was sold on the Minnesota Vikings long before they made him the 10th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.

“When I covered Michigan’s spring game for Fox a couple of weeks ago, I ran into McCarthy, as members of the 2023 team were there for their ring ceremony,” Joel Klatt of Fox Sports revealed. “I got a chance to talk with him for a little bit about the draft process before asking him where he wanted to end up. He told me that he wanted to end up in Minnesota, saying he would ‘love’ to play for the Vikings.”

McCarthy’s draft stock became a moving target throughout the spring, as some suggested that the Washington Commanders could select him with the draft’s second pick. Others believed either the Vikings or New York Giants could move up to choice No. 4 or No. 5 for McCarthy.

The Giants ultimately passed on McCarthy and instead grabbed LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers via the sixth pick. Thus, Minnesota was able to wait and then go from the 11th selection to No. 10 to take McCarthy.

Much was made even before the draft about whether the Vikings will start McCarthy or free-agent acquisition Sam Darnold in Week 1. While it’s thought that Darnold is an ideal bridge option who would allow a rookie to sit and learn as a backup, Klatt predicted that head coach Kevin O’Connell will develop McCarthy quickly enough for the first-year pro to be ready to face live defenses in meaningful games come September.

“McCarthy is hyper-competitive and really skilled,” Klatt added. “The Vikings are going to see a guy who can win them football games right away, partly because of what he does on the field, but also because he’s such a strong leader. He went 27-1 as Michigan’s starting quarterback, making plays in key moments where prior Michigan teams failed.”

As of Thursday morning, DraftKings Sportsbook listed McCarthy fourth among the betting favorites at +800 odds to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award for the upcoming season. Klatt indicated he loves those odds because of “how good of a situation McCarthy is in” this spring.