Kirk Herbstreit believes Vikings' new quarterback JJ McCarthy could become 'one of the faces of the NFL'


The Minnesota Vikings selected Michigan standout J.J. McCarthy with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night, and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes the organization made the right call. 

McCarthy, who led the Wolverines to an undefeated season and the national championship before declaring, saw a rise in his draft stock in the weeks leading up to the big night, but he ultimately fell to the No. 10 spot after the Vikings traded up to select the young signal caller. 

Dallas Turner rushes JJ McCarthy

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy of the Michigan Wolverines is hit by Dallas Turner of the Alabama Crimson Tide during this year’s Rose Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Jan. 1. (Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Four other quarterbacks were taken before him, including former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who lost to Michigan in the title game. 

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But during a recent episode of OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich,” Herbstreit praised McCarthy as the real deal, which he credited in large part to former head coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense.  

“The guy’s a winner — he’s 27-1, won a national title, brought Michigan back to being Michigan, and now he goes to Minnesota. And I think if you look at [Vikings head coach] Kevin O’Connell… he’s going to put a system that’s very similar to what J.J. McCarthy did at Michigan, and I think this kid’s going to fit in perfectly.” 

JJ McCarthy and Jim Harbaugh

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy talks with head coach Jim Harbaugh before the Big Ten championship game against Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Dec. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

VIKINGS TRADE UP IN NFL DRAFT TO SELECT J.J. MCCARTHY AFTER SURPRISING FALL

“I think that kid could eventually become one of the faces of the NFL. I think he’s got a chance to really take off,” Herbstreit added. 

The Vikings obviously saw something similar and made the move for McCarthy. They traded up with the New York Jets, handing over the No. 11 pick and a fourth and fifth-rounder in exchange for Nos. 10 and 203.

JJ McCarthy after national title

J.J. McCarthy of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after defeating the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship Game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Jan. 8. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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“We knew we weren’t the only ones that had identified him as a quarterback we wanted to select,” O’Connell said of the jump. “You start thinking about the what-if.”

In his two full seasons as starter, McCarthy went 27-1. He set the program record with a 72.3% completion percentage and threw for 5,710 yards, 44 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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