Vikings draft J.J. McCarthy: Instant analysis and reaction to Minnesota's top pick

Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy
Minnesota Vikings QB J.J. McCarthy / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

After months of speculation, the Minnesota Vikings finally made their first selection of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night. Unsurprisingly, the Vikings' top pick is one that many are going to be talking about long after the entire 2024 draft concludes on Saturday.

Following the departure of Kirk Cousins earlier this year, Minnesota decided to use their first selection in this year's draft on former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy. The Vikings used the 10th overall pick on McCarthy, which is now the highest draft selection Minnesota has ever used on a quarterback.

The Vikings actually ended up making a trade with the New York Jets to move up from the No. 11 pick to the No. 10 pick in order to select McCarthy. Along with the 11th pick, Minnesota also acquired the 203rd pick from the Jets in exchange for picks No. 11, No. 129, and No. 157.

Minnesota Vikings select J.J. McCarthy in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

In McCarthy, the Vikings are getting a quarterback who not only experienced a bunch of success during his college career at Michigan, but he also helped his team reach the absolute highest level of success last season when he helped lead the school to a National Championship.

Some knock McCarthy for his low number of passing attempts while at Michigan, however, the team didn't need him to pass very much during the last two years as they were often entering the second half of matchups with comfortable leads.

When the former Michigan passer was called upon to help the offense more with his arm, he was typically up to the challenge.

During his two seasons as a starter for Michigan, McCarthy completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 5,710 yards, 44 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions while also rushing for 508 yards and another eight scores.

Figuring out whether or not their new quarterback will begin the 2024 regular season as their starter is what the Vikings will have to do during the next few months.

Minnesota did sign veteran signal-caller Sam Darnold in free agency and the team has expressed plenty of confidence in him during the last few weeks. So, if McCarthy isn't ready by the Vikings' 2024 regular-season opener, they have at least someone who can probably play solid football for a few games, if not more.

But at the very least, we now know who Minnesota is hoping will be their next franchise quarterback. Will McCarthy end up proving them right and lead the Vikings to a level of success they've never achieved before, or will he struggle to meet his expectations?

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