Wayne Gretzky calls J.J. McCarthy during Vikings Zoom session

The Minnesota Vikings ended the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night with Michigan star J.J. McCarthy as their potential quarterback of the future.

The Vikings moved up one spot to the No. 10 pick to get him. Apparently McCarthy has a connection to Wayne Gretzky. Yes, the former NHL legend and now hall of famer.

Late Thursday night, McCarthy was on a virtual conference call with Vikings’ media when Gretzky hit up McCarthy on his phone. He quickly ignored the call before getting back to answering questions.

Gretzky is close with McCarthy’s marketing manager away from football. Gretzky and McCarthy even talked on FaceTime after Michigan won the College Football Playoff national championship. No big deal, just one of the greatest hockey players of all time.

"Oh that’s Wayne Gretzky, I’m sorry about that. Hockey guy 1-on-1 and going to the hockey state," McCarthy said. "Growing up he was one of my GOATs on Mount Rushmore. Give so much credit to him because he inspired me so much."

McCarthy comes to the Vikings after throwing for more than 2,900 yards, 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions to lead Michigan to a national championship. He met with the Vikings multiple times and made it known he wanted to play for Kevin O’Connell.

He wasn’t alone. 

"Every QB in the class that I interacted with wanted to go to Minnesota," McCarthy said.

McCarthy was the fifth of six quarterbacks taken Thursday night, behind Caleb Williams, Jayden McDaniels, Drake Maye and Michael Penix Jr. Box Nix was taken by the Broncos two picks later. The Vikings moved up to No. 10 to get him.

McCarthy will be introduced at TCO Performance Center on Friday.

"I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity. So much appreciation and thanks to coach O’Connell, Kwesi, the Wilf family and everything that they did to make this a reality for me," McCarthy said. "I can’t wait to get to work with the guys and focus on climbing this new mountain and getting to the top."