Josh McCown on ending Vikings’ 2003 season: ‘It was one of 5 good plays in my career’

Josh McCown can laugh about it now as the Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks coach, but more than two decades ago, he put a knife in the chest of the fan base.

In the 2003 regular season finale, McCown was the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. At the time, the Vikings were clinging to one of the final spots in the NFC Playoffs. He hit Nate Poole for a walk-off touchdown, the Vikings lost and were eliminated from the postseason.


"It’s funny, somebody will grab me in the airport and they’ll say welcome to Minnesota. Then hey wait a minute, the longer we talk the more they think about it and then it’s not so pleasant. Hold on man, yeah it happened," McCown said Wednesday at organized team activities. "Throughout the course of my career there’s only like five good plays and that’s one of them, so let me have it. It was a crazy moment back then, but it’s cool to be here now and be a part of this organization."

McCown played 16 NFL seasons with nine teams, and was a teammate of current Vikings’ quarterback Sam Darnold with the New York Jets in 2018. McCown’s job is now to get either Darnold, or rookie J.J. McCarthy, poised to be the Week 1 starter at the New York Giants in September.

He said being a former teammate of Darnold’s helps with now coaching him.

"I think it gives us relational equity for me to be able to challenge him. Hopefully expedite the learning curve as a new player to our team. It makes for a fun room because we have history," McCown said. "He’s probably more like a nephew from our age difference."

The Vikings continue OTAs and wrap up their offseason in about two weeks before training camp starts in late July.