Vikings News Roundup: J.J. McCarthy, Sean Payton, Sam Darnold

Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

One month from Monday, we will finally get to find out what the Minnesota Vikings will do with with their first selection in this year's NFL Draft as the opening round is set to begin on Thursday, April 25.

Until then, the rumors and reports about what the Vikings' potential plans will be are just going to continue to smother all of the headlines related to the team.

When it comes to some of the most recent news and rumors related to Minnesota, what are a few of the headlines that seem to be the most notable?

Vikings News Roundup: J.J. McCarthy, Sean Payton, Sam Darnold, and More

J.J. McCarthy might be out of reach for the Vikings now?

Throughout the pre-draft process, former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is someone who many have predicted will wind up with the Vikings in April. Well, apparently, even if Minnesota is able to trade all the way up to the third overall spot in the opening round, McCarthy might already be off the board.

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero shared on Monday that based on some of the conversations that he's had with league executives at the NFL owners meetings during the last 48 hours, McCarthy is someone that many keep bringing up as who the Washington Commanders will select with the No. 2 pick in this year's draft.

Now, this could easily be a gigantic smokescreen set up by the Commanders to potentially stir up some trade offers, but McCarthy coming off of the board with the second overall selection is not something many could have seen as a legitimate possibility as recent as last week.

Sean Payton going to ruin the Vikings' draft plans?

Speaking of McCarthy, he's obviously impressed more teams than just the Vikings during the last few weeks, including current Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

Minnesota is currently sitting with picks No. 11 and No. 23 in the first round of this year's NFL Draft, and if they're going to move up to select a quarterback, they might have some competition from Payton and the Broncos.

On Monday, the Denver head coach revealed that it's "realistic" that his team will look to move up in the opening round of April's draft. With Jarrett Stidham currently in line to be the Broncos' starting signal-caller next season, the assumption is that if the team were to trade up in the first round this year, it would be for a quarterback.

Kevin O'Connell believes "best football is ahead" of Sam Darnold

Until Minnesota actually uses a pick on a new quarterback in this year's NFL Draft, Sam Darnold is currently the top signal-caller on the team's depth chart.

Signed this offseason in free agency, Darnold is someone that Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell is excited to work with. O'Connell had the following to say about Minnesota's new quarterback during an interview on "The Insiders" with NFL Media's Tom Pelissero, Ian Rapoport, and Mike Garafolo.

"I think [Darnold's] best football is ahead of him because of how he's handled the last couple years, whether it's going 4-2 down the stretch in Carolina in '22, or when you turn on the tape of his work in San Francisco.

...I'm excited to get going with Sam because I think we can pick up where he left off last year. Like I've talked about already, love the group of guys that we have around the quarterback position in our offense right now, and I think it's a going to be a really positive situation for Sam."

Former Vikings defender lands with Steelers

After he was recently released by the Vikings, veteran defensive lineman Dean Lowry has found a new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to the team's general manager on Monday.

Lowry joined Minnesota during free agency last year, and during the 2023 season, he finished with a total of 14 tackles in nine appearances.

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