Top Vikings Draft Target Named Amongst the “Riskiest” Prospects

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy kisses the championship trophy to celebrate the Wolverines' 34-13 win over Washington in the national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

The 2024 NFL Draft is projected to be one of the deeper quarterback classes in recent memory.

With Kirk Cousins leaving the Minnesota Vikings and joining the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings are widely expected to trade up and select one of these quarterbacks. However, one of the more popular Vikings draft targets has recently been labeled as one of the “riskiest” draft prospects of the spring.

Popular Vikings Draft Target Listed Among “Riskiest” Prospects

Vikings Draft Target
Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws a pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first half in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

That player is QB J.J. McCarthy out of Michigan, who has seen his draft stock skyrocket throughout the offseason. After spending much of 2023 viewed as a potential second-round pick, McCarthy led the Wolverines to a national championship and has cemented himself as a first-round player and potentially a top-five pick.

However, one analyst isn’t quite sold on this idea yet. Bleacher Report‘s Gary Davenport authored an article this week detailing the draft’s “riskiest picks,” and McCarthy made the list.

“There are two types of teams in the NFL — those that have franchise quarterbacks, and those who covet them. Teams in the latter group will do just about anything to join the former—and one this year is going to draft Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy in the top-15—if not the top-10. There has even been some speculation that McCarthy could leapfrog Daniels or North Carolina’s Drake Maye and be drafted inside the top three,” Davenport wrote.

Dec 2, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) throws during the first quarter of the Big Ten Championship game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly is a fair point. If a team doesn’t have a quarterback set in place, they are going to do everything in their power to ensure that they get one. The Carolina Panthers traded away their first and second-round picks in both the 2023 and 2024 NFL Drafts along with WR D.J. Moore in order to acquire the first overall pick last spring.

With that pick, the Panthers decided to select QB Bryce Young, but it went horribly in 2023. Young completed 59.8% of his passes for 2877 yards, 11 TDs, and 10 INTs over 16 games, and Carolina finished the 2023 season with a 2-15 record.

Of course, the Vikings will likely need to pull off a trade up the board if they are going to draft McCarthy or another quarterback prospect. It could end up costing them upwards of three first-round picks while other teams may demand a player in return as well.

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) reacts during the second quarter against the Washington Huskies in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As a result, there certainly is plenty of risk involved for the Vikings as they pursue a QB this spring. Davenport not only had McCarthy as a risky QB prospect, but he also listed LSU QB Jayden Daniels as well, citing his inconsistent accuracy as a main concern and ultimately comparing him to a “Poor Man’s Jalen Hurts.”

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.