Vikings Select Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy With 10th Pick in 2024 NFL Draft

McCarthy is now the Vikings' quarterback of the future.
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9)
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Vikings have traded up one spot and selected Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy with the 10th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. A new era of football is underway in Minnesota, with Kirk Cousins gone and McCarthy now in place as the QB of the future for head coach Kevin O'Connell and GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.

There had been buzz that the Vikings liked UNC's Drake Maye quite a bit, but he was taken third overall by the Patriots, who were reportedly asking for a king's ransom to trade the pick. The Falcons then surprised everyone by taking Washington's Michael Penix Jr. with the 8th pick. So the Vikings waited a bit before jumping up in a trade with the Jets to ensure that they landed McCarthy, the 21-year-old who led the Wolverines to the national title last season as a junior.

To ensure they got him, the Vikings traded picks 11, 129, and 157 to the Jets for picks 10 and 203.

Because he was operating a run-heavy Michigan offense, McCarthy doesn't have the same kind of passing volume or eye-popping statistics as the other top quarterback prospects in this draft. He threw for 22 touchdown passes and just shy of 3,000 yards in each of the last two seasons. Nonetheless, there's a lot to like about him as an NFL prospect. He's got good size at 6'2" and 220 pounds, he can make plays outside of the pocket with his athleticism, and he has big-time arm talent. McCarthy was incredibly efficient in college; he completed over 72 percent of his passes last season and threw just nine interceptions in 28 starts at Michigan.

McCarthy went 27-1 as Michigan's starter after going 36-2 in high school. He's got the mental makeup, pocket poise, and toughness that teams believe will lead to wins at the NFL level. The Vikings are banking on that.

"McCarthy’s evaluation feels incomplete, which creates even more projection than normal, but his passing skills, pocket athleticism and mental makeup are all ascending and create optimism for his NFL future," wrote The Athletic's Dane Brugler in his draft guide. "Although bumps along the way should be expected, he has the package of tools to become an NFL starter early in his career."

This is an ideal landing spot for McCarthy. He'll be coached by O'Connell and Josh McCown, and whenever he earns the starting role, he'll be throwing to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson behind an offensive line featuring two excellent tackles. McCarthy is somewhat inexperienced and needs further development as a processor, so there's likely a decent chance Sam Darnold is the Vikings' Week 1 starter. But whether it's in 2024 or later, McCarthy is going to have every opportunity to prove he can be the long-term answer at quarterback in Minnesota.

McCarthy is now the highest-drafted quarterback in Vikings history. Previously, it was Daunte Culpepper as the 11th pick.

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Will Ragatz