Meet The Brohioan – Settling for JJ McCarthy was a Minnesota Vikings Home Run

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Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

I’m not from Minnesota. I wasn’t raised hearing about the heartbreak of the 70’s with Fran Tarkenton, the purple people eaters or Bud Grant. I didn’t grow up hearing about a Drew Pearson push-off or 6 yards the Minnesota Vikings couldn’t get in 1987. These are things I had to learn on my own as I got older and felt the affects of these “curses” myself.

My name is Josh Nickell, or The Brohioan on Twitter (X).

I’m from Ohio, Bengals country, to be exact. And up until one year ago, I had never even watched a game with another Vikings fan. See, my dad is a DIEHARD Bengals fan. Aside From Corey Dillon and Carl Pickens, the Bengals were about the sorriest damn team I’d ever seen. The losingest team of the 90s. Not interested, dad.

Ohio kid falls for Randy Moss – A love story

NFL Draft Day – 1998: Picture this — It’s a beautiful spring day on April 18th, 1998. I’m a 8-year-old kid watching the NFL Draft with his dad (bored to absolute tears and only halfway paying attention). That’s when my dad let out a loud “Holy Shit!”

I look up to see my dad standing in shock, with his hands on his head. Alright, now I’m curious. “That guy is the best college wide receiver I’ve ever seen and they just paired him up with Cris Carter.”

The best? Now I’m paying attention. As Randy Moss highlights played, I sat there in awe as this freak of nature played in fast forward compared to everyone else on the screen. Remember, we are in Ohio. Not only is my dad a huge Bengals fan, but he’s a massive Ohio State fan too. Cris Carter is from the next town over from where we were.

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So my dad knew immediately when that pick was made that the Vikings’ receiver group was going to be a serious problem. From that moment on, I was all in on the Minnesota Vikings and I’ve dawned nothing but purple and gold ever since.

What a year that was to start out as a young fan. Randy Moss was indeed the best and it was win after win after win after- well I’m not going to do that 15 times but they won a lot of damn games. It felt like destiny.

Then they met the Falcons in the NFC Championship game… and that’s when I got my little heart shattered into a million pieces by my favorite football team for the first time. I was in shock and then cried my fucking ass off. That was not supposed to happen… how did that happen??

The Decision – Brohioan Version

Fast forward: The 41-0 game happened, Dennis Green was let go, Cris Carter was gone and the purgatory of absolute midness was among us. Then, on a cold winter day on March 2nd, 2005, the spark for my Vikings fandom, Randy Moss, was traded. I was again at a crossroads.

Do I stick with this team that I’ve had absolute no connection to? While I watch all my Bengals fan friends and family have all this excitement with Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson?? FUCK THAT, I’m not leaving. I had grown to love this team and although they had hurt me I was never going to give up on them.

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Sticking around felt like it had paid off a handful of years later. The Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson and then found a way to land Brett Favre in the same year they drafted my favorite college football player of all time, Percy Harvin, who I had just watched help lead my Florida Gators win two 2 national championships in 3 years. The Vikings were fucking BACK. The winds were in our favor again.

Then, they weren’t. The Bounty gate game against the Saints. Nearly a decade later, we caught lightning in a bottle with Case Keenum and the Minneapolis miracle. I let my guard down just enough to have it, once again, crushed.

We broke the bank for polarizing Kirk Cousins. We paid a pocket passer and didn’t always give him a pocket, we had coaches who never fully embraced him, our defense got to a point of being historically bad. On another hand the Minnesota Vikings did a great job of keeping weapons around him, and paying a guy who is more of a top 10-15 guy top 5 money isn’t necessarily a recipe for success with the contracts these QBs have started to demand.

None of that matters anymore, though, because Kirk is gone. I was very pro draft a quarterback entering the 2024 NFL Draft. It was a very solid draft for quarterbacks, by all measures, and we were picking higher than usual.

Minnesota Vikings swing for QB of the future

It is time to finally take a true swing and I was all for it. Before, we were always bunting, in hopes to hit a homerun. I adopted the ‘FUCK THEM PICKS’. With the amount of cap space we will have, along with an impressive young core we already have, I was confident we could fill other holes if we just find THE GUY.

I think we could all agree that the lead up to the draft was a GRIND. So much conflicting information, people pretending they know more than they do, smoke screens everywhere and just the repetitive groundhogs day like leaks of information.

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For me, Drake Maye was my guy. The connections to Josh McCown, the potential, the Minnesota Vikings’ situation. It just felt like a match made in hell for the rest of the NFC north. I watched my hometown Bengals completely change the course of their history by finding their guy, and if they can do it, surely the Vikings can too.

But could we realistically get to the third spot to get Maye? I tried to keep the hope, but realistically, it felt like our draft position screamed JJ McCarthy. Maybe not a full on swing for the fences kinda swing, but sometimes you hit it just right and knock it out of the park anyway.

I feel like that’s what the Vikings did. From the second JJ McCarthy got drafted the wind in the sails have picked up once again in this fan base. The buzz, chemistry and excitement amongst us isn’t something I’ve really experienced before.

Everything I’ve seen from JJ McCarthy as a person I’ve fallen in love with. He checks every box as a person. His phone calls and press conferences have been homeruns. This Kid can be a leader of men, and the situation and coaching staff we have is one that can unlock him. I’ve seen the McCarthy lovers refer to him as baby Burrow. Which is exactly what I’ve been looking for since I’ve gotten to watch the Bengals get their guy. It feels like a perfect fit.

We found a Midwest guy from Chicago who will hopefully be a thorn in their side for the next 15+ years. We found a dude who played in Michigan who will hopefully light the Lions asses on fire for 15+ years.

We got a guy who has won at every fucking level he’s been at that hopefully helps us do the same so we can tell Packers fans to shut the hell up about rings. Now I know “Quarterback wins aren’t a stat” but if you don’t think leadership, moxy, coming from a winning culture and a winning attitude don’t matter then you’re mistaken.

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If you’re not excited about Vikings football right now then you’re just a pessimistic fan who needs to touch some grass. Time will tell if it will all work out, but I’ll never give up hope, and I’m not sure I’ve felt more into my fandom than I do right now.

We’ve all been hurt, but the winds have changed in Minnesota. We just drafted two studs coming from winning cultures at two of the most important positions in the game, while all signs point to us locking up the best wide receiver in football. Times are changing in Minnesota, it’s time to go back to that little boy back in 1998 who had so much hope. It’s time to start believing again.

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