Sean Payton says he baited Vikings into drafting J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a first half pass while playing the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium on November 04, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings made a trade with the New York Jets Thursday night to acquire the No. 10 pick in the NFL Draft, which they used to pick Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton said Friday he was trying to bait them into doing just that. He added a crass smile after the comment.

"I was actively involved in trying to pretend we were moving forward," Payton told Denver reporters on Friday.

The Vikings moved up to No. 10, fearing other teams needing a quarterback, such as the Broncos, were going to jump ahead of them. Six quarterbacks were taken in the first 12 picks, including Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, Michael Penix Jr., McCarthy and Bo Nix, who went No. 12 to the Broncos, exactly two picks later.

Perhaps Payton is trying to save face after the Broncos couldn’t get ahead of the Vikings. He doesn't exactly have a great track record against Minnesota. Payton started mocking Vikings' fans with a Skol chant during the 2019 NFC Divisional Playoffs, before Case Keenum hit Stefon Diggs for a walk-off touchdown, now tabbed the "Minneapolis Miracle."

McCarthy led Michigan to a national title after throwing for 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season. He’ll get the chance to compete for the starting job with the Vikings, now that he has a new home in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the Vikings don't face the Broncos in the regular season.