Vikings Had Another QB Ranked Close to J.J. McCarthy, and it Wasn’t Drake Maye

Minnesota Vikings, Michael Penix
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Draft day is over, and the Minnesota Vikings got their guy in J.J. McCarthy. But as it turns out, McCarthy wasn’t the Vikings’ only “guy”.

Pre-draft rumors pointed to the Vikings having Drake Maye high on Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s draft board, and while that smoke may be legitimate, he wasn’t the only quarterback on Minnesota’s radar.

Minnesota Vikings Also Liked Michael Penix Jr, But Not More Than J.J. McCarthy

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Vikings always had an eye on McCarthy, but they weren’t willing to launch up the draft board to land him. They believed getting McCarthy around the 11th spot delivered great value, but they also may have felt similarly about Michael Penix Jr.

“The Vikings, while they really like J.J. McCarthy, from a value perspective, they weren’t going to be involved in trying to trade up for him. They simply weren’t going to go to 4 or 5. They were making a calculated bet the Giants aren’t going to take him.”

“They were high on Michael Penix. They had J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix pretty close on the board. J.J. was above Penix, but they were both guys the Vikings would have been comfortable taking at 11.”

Tom Pelissero on how Vikings approached 2024 NFL Draft

Related: Top 10 Minnesota Vikings QB Draft Picks of All-Time

The Vikings were right to call the Giants’ bluff, but what no one anticipated was Atlanta taking a quarterback in the first round, less than two months after offering Kirk Cousins over $100 million in guarantees.

Penix went off the clock three picks before the Vikings were scheduled to pick, curiously landing with the Atlanta Falcons. While the front office was high on Penix too, from how Pelissero spins it, the Vikings got the top quarterback available on their draft board when the 10th pick arrived.

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