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Where did QB JJ McCarthy rank on the Viking draft list?

Where did QB JJ McCarthy rank on the Viking draft list?

Thank you for submitting questions about this Vikings mailbag. You can send questions to @Andrew_Krammer at X (formerly Twitter) or [email protected]. Listen to answers to more questions from readers on the Access Vikings podcast. Let’s get started.

Question: Was JJ McCarthy really the quarterback the Vikings wanted or was he simply the best available at the time? – Ivan

AK: McCarthy was one of the quarterbacks the Vikings wanted. He was also the fifth passer taken by No. 10 overall, where the Vikings traded up to get him. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said he had to become “a little more aggressive” in his offer to beat another team in negotiations with the New York Jets. Later, Broncos coach Sean Payton claimed he was “trying to pretend” he was acting to entice the Vikings to pay more; the Broncos drafted Oregon quarterback Bo Nix at No. 12.

The Vikings attempted to move up to No. 3, where the New England Patriots ultimately retained the selection and drafted North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. According to ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, the Vikings offered three first-round picks between No. 11, No. 23 and the 2025 first-round pick for No. 3 and “two mid-round” picks. The package almost certainly would have been for Maye, a 6-4 year old with a rocket arm and mobility. Maye had been a favorite at the Vikings’ headquarters since his standout season at UNC in 2022, and then the team hired one of his former high school coaches, Josh McCown, as quarterbacks coach in February.

Adofo-Mensah said he understood why teams didn’t trade back because of the “opportunity cost” in a 2024 NFL draft chock full of elite talent.

When asked if McCarthy topped their rankings, Adofo-Mensah dodged pressure in the pocket.

“That question is difficult,” Adofo-Mensah said. “What I can tell you is he was someone whose skillset we’re very excited about (and) we know we can build on and win with. Someone you talk about from a talent perspective is as talented as anyone also in the draft.” .”

McCarthy is “a bit of an unknown,” Adofo-Mensah said, as he threw the fewest passes per game (22) of the six QBs in the first round last season. But they believe McCarthy, also the youngest QB taken in the first round at 21, has all the talent needed to succeed under coach Kevin O’Connell, a former quarterback.

“We have the environment to raise him,” Adofo-Mensah said. “(Coaches) have a plan for him to work on specific things. We’re not going to rush his development.”

Q: Is the Vikings’ lack of 2025 draft picks less concerning because of the free agent money they will have? –Jay

AK: The Vikings currently have three 2025 draft picks: a first and two fifths. Minnesota has an extra fifth-round pick from the Cleveland Browns, where the Vikings sent the Vikings’ sixth- and seventh-round picks in the Za’Darius Smith trade last year. The Vikings’ second-, third- and fourth-round picks next year were essentially packaged together for edge rusher Dallas Turner. Adofo-Mensah sent the second-round pick to Houston in a package for No. 23 overall. He then traded up to No. 17 to the Jaguars, sending third and fourth round picks.

The good news: The Vikings are expected to get a compensatory third-round pick in 2025 for losing quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​to the Falcons. That won’t happen until next spring.

As you said, the Vikings will be better positioned to spend money on veterans. Adofo-Mensah has spoken about resetting the team’s salary cap after inheriting an aging and expensive roster. According to OverTheCap.com, they are expected to have over $85 million in cap space in 2025, but that is a projection as next year’s salary cap has not yet been set and the Vikings are looking to extend receiver Justin Jefferson, who is not yet under contract in 2025.

Q: What are your thoughts on what a potential punishment for tampering with Kirk Cousins ​​in Atlanta could entail next year? –Tom

AK: Whatever the punishment is, I don’t believe it will have an immediate impact on the Vikings other than the fact that the Falcons had to forfeit a few picks. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the league’s investigation is ongoing. There is precedent for thinking that a punishment would only affect the Falcons, such as the way the Dolphins forfeited multiple draft picks after the league discovered they had tampered with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton. There seems to be a misconception that the Vikings could switch picks because that’s what the Cardinals and Eagles did in a tampering case with Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon. However, the Cardinals self-reported the violation and the two teams came to a resolution. In this case, Cousins ​​indicated at a news conference that he had communicated with Falcons officials before he was allowed to do so.

Q: Why do they continue to ignore the interior offensive line? – Stan

Q: Will they bring back Dalton Risner? – Sheila

AK: The Vikings made no move to bring back Risner, who started 11 games last season after signing in September. But that doesn’t mean they won’t after seeing how the left guard spot has been shaken up this summer. The most experienced options at the moment are Blake Brandel and Dan Feeney. Other than using a second-round pick on right guard Ed Ingram in 2022, this Viking regime hasn’t committed major resources to the interior O-line. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah once opined that a Rams system (like O’Connell’s) “won’t be as offensive line dependent as some other teams.”

Question: What is the position where the Vikings have the most strength? Even at wide receiver, it feels like we’re short a WR3? –Andy

Question: Who is the favorite to win the WR3 track? – Aaron

AK: I would start with receiver and tight end. The Vikings’ top two options between receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, and tight ends TJ Hockenson and Josh Oliver, are as versatile and dynamic as any of the top duos in the league. Losing KJ Osborn in free agency could force O’Connell to rely less on three-receiver sets, which has been the Rams’ bread and butter under Sean McVay. But the Vikings did sign journeyman Trent Sherfield to a one-year deal. They also re-signed Brandon Powell and remain hopeful that Jalen Nailor will take the next step. I would take out Sherfield as favorite for WR3 before the race starts. But with running back Aaron Jones in the fold, it will be tempting to run the ball with fullback C.J. Ham and multiple tight ends.