Vikings take J.J. McCarthy in highly anticipated QB move in 2024 NFL draft

Vikings take J.J. McCarthy in highly anticipated QB move in 2024 NFL draft


The Minnesota Vikings’ long-awaited quarterback move has finally materialized.

The Vikings traded up one spot to select Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy on Thursday with the No. 10 selection in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

The move provides clarity for a team that had been left without any easy answers behind center after longtime starter Kirk Cousins left to sign with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason. 

Despite losing Cousins, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah maintained that the Vikings were not obligated to take a quarterback early in the draft. The team signed Sam Darnold in free agency and later acquired an additional first-round pick – No. 23 – from the Houston Texans.

“Really, as we enter this draft, we have the flexibility to go either way,” Adofo-Mensah said in March. “If the opportunity comes where that player is available, we’ll take it. If it’s not available, we’ll continue to build around (the QB position) and then find potential odds at a long-term solution, in addition to what we’ve already brought in with Sam (Darnold) and anybody else we acquire. The answer isn’t some strict thing, and part of that is the flexibility we’ve wanted to put into our plan these past couple years.”

In Minnesota, McCarthy will be brought along by coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterbacks coach Josh McCown, both former signal-callers in the league themselves. All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson and 2023 first-round pick Jordan Addison provide go-to targets capable of easing the burden for the rookie passer, while running back Aaron Jones powers the ground game after the former Green Bay Packers standout joined his rival this offseason. 

A two-year starter at Michigan, McCarthy was a key part of one of the most successful stretches in school history, compiling a 27-1 record and helping lead the team to an undefeated national championship last season. 

In the Wolverines’ run-heavy offense, however, the 6-2, 219-pound passer wasn’t asked to carry the offense in the same fashion that many of the draft’s other top quarterbacks were. But through the pre-draft process, McCarthy seemed to emerge as the quarterback expected to be chosen after USC’s Caleb Williams, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. That trio went off the board with the top three picks, but McCarthy was actually the fifth quarterback taken after Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. went to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8.

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