Former Vikings GM's admiration for J.J. McCarthy should concern Minnesota fans

Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

During his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman was part of a front office that selected a total of three quarterbacks with draft selections in the first three rounds, including two that were selected with first-round picks.

Those three signal-callers were Christian Ponder (drafted in 2011), Teddy Bridgewater (2014), and Kellen Mond (2021). Together, they combined for a total of one Pro Bowl selection, a passer rating of 80.6, and a winning percentage of 49.2 during their time in a Vikings uniform.

Spielman essentially struck out when it came to finding a young quarterback for Minnesota in his tenure with the franchise. Which makes his thoughts about former Michigan passer J.J. McCarthy this offseason a bit concerning, especially since he's been rumored to be among the favorites to land with the Vikings in this year's NFL Draft.

Former Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman is a big fan of J.J. McCarthy

During an episode of the "With The First Pick" podcast shortly after this year's NFL Scouting Combine, Spielman had the following to say about McCarthy.

"We've been through it 100 times. [People say] 'Well, he doesn't make all the throws you want to see, or he doesn't throw the ball 50 times a game.'

But he knows how to win games, and he's been through the limelight. He's won a national championship. And I thought he handled every question coming his way [at the Scouting Combine] very polished.

...If I was in [his team's] locker room and he was my quarterback, I would gravitate to him from his leadership standpoint. I'd wanna go play for this kid."

It's pretty clear that Minnesota's former general manager thinks highly of McCarthy and his potential to be a good quarterback in the NFL. But based on Spielman's past failures when drafting a quarterback for the Vikings, the former Michigan signal-caller might be someone Minnesota should actually stay away from.

Now, the current Vikings regime isn't going to account for Spielman's thoughts about McCarthy during their evaluation of the young quarterback prospect. And if anything, multiple reports from this offseason have indicated that Minnesota's current leadership agrees with the team's former general manager when it comes to McCarthy.

It is going to be incredibly interesting to see how the Vikings approach this year's NFL Draft. Many are expecting them to trade up in the first round to select a quarterback. But if the Vikings are able to find a way to trade up in the opening round, which passing prospect will they be hoping to land?

Could Minnesota's rumored interest in McCarthy actually be an effort by them to drive up his stock and push him past a quarterback prospect they might truly want to end up with in Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye?

Other than Caleb Williams, who seems like a virtual lock to be drafted first overall this year, the Vikings could potentially wind up with one of the other three top passing prospects in April's draft. And that could end up being McCarthy, or it could not.