Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings


Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings.

While the Minnesota Vikings continue to work through their decision on Kirk Cousins, the option to draft a quarterback will be there regardless.

If they draft one, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy sounds very open to the idea. McCarthy spoke highly of his meeting with Vikings brass, including Head Coach Kevin O’Connell and new Quarterbacks Coach Josh McCown.

“It went amazing,” McCarthy told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on March 1.

“Coach O’Connell led the whole thing, and just being able to see him in person, he was a lot taller than I thought. And Coach McCown and just everything about what they were talking about, everything about what they wanted out of a quarterback, it’s something that aligns with what I want. Just being able to get on the board with them, have them go through their plays, it was something really special and I enjoyed it.”

McCarthy completed 72.3% of his passes for 2,991 yards and 22 touchdowns with four interceptions in 2023 en route to a National Championship victory.

He has been projected to land anywhere from where the Vikings pick at No. 11 overall to the No. 7 overall pick and the Las Vegas Raiders. A native of LaGrange, Illinois, he is also familiar with the NFC North.

The 21-year-old could start immediately. But he might benefit from sitting behind Cousins.

McCarthy also used the term “amazing” to describe his former coaches at Michigan. But he later raved about Vikings star Justin Jefferson.

J.J. McCarthy Wants to Throw to Vikings’ Justin Jefferson

J.J. McCarthy, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJJ McCarthy #QB05 of the Michigan Wolverines.

McCarthy wasn’t done speaking highly of the Vikings while making the media rounds at the combine. He also name-dropped Jefferson first when asked by CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson for the top three players at the position he would like to throw to.

He also named Raiders star Davante Adams and the Seattle Seahawks’ Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

However, when presented with the fact that Wilson’s co-host and former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman drafted Jefferson, McCarthy told the latter it was an “amazing” pick.

Jefferson is coming off an injury-truncated season that was also marred by shoddy quarterback play. But the three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro still logged his fourth-straight 1000-yard season since entering the league.

Jefferson is also set to play on his fifth-year option.

J.J. McCarthy Compared to Drew Brees

Drew Brees, Minnesota Vikings

GettyDrew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints.

Poised to reset the market on his next contract, Jefferson has notably said he would like Cousins back. But he also noted that he would be the same player regardless.

Some within the organization have eyed pairing him with fellow LSU alum Jayden Daniels.

“Minnesota knows it eventually has to address the quarterback position long term,” ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote on February 10. “The notion of bringing in Daniels to pair with their star LSU alum wideout Justin Jefferson has appeal to some in the organization.”

Perhaps they would “settle” for McCarthy, whose ability to process has drawn comparisons to former New Orleans Saints Pro Bowler Drew Brees.

“NFL evaluators have described McCarthy’s processing as “elite” in my conversations with them,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote on February 5. “Drew Brees was a great processor, but he didn’t have the same athletic ability that McCarthy offers.”

Josh Buckhalter covers the NBA and NFL for Heavy.com with a focus on the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings. He has covered the NBA and NFL since 2016, including bylines at FanSided, Last Word on Sports and Clocker Sports. He’s based in Villa Park, Illinois. Follow Josh on Twitter and Instagram: @JoshGBuck More about Josh Buckhalter

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