Talented Vikings Rookie Off to a Good Start

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Tuesday., July 25th, 2023. The Vikings won the NFC North in Kevin O'Connell's first year, thanks to a 13-4 record. O'Connell's is the league's second-youngest coach as of 2023.

Jordan Addison’s spring and early summer did not go as planned. First, the missed workouts because of an injury and then the infamous speeding ticket made big waves. Not an ideal early beginning of his Vikings’ tenure, but he totally changed the narrative in the first week of training camp, looking as good as advertised on the practice field.

Talented Vikings Rookie Off to a Good Start

a Good Start
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The first-round pick is always the main attraction in training camp, and Addison is no different. Fans and reporters want to see if their pricy player was worth the investment. The early reports about the ex-USC star are good. Kevin O’Connell was asked about the 21-year-old at his press conference on Tuesday.

He’s off to a really good start. He completely put his issue from the spring behind him, he put in the work throughout the summer, so that was really not something that I was particularly concerned about. But what he’s done on the grass so far is confirming a lot of the things that we expected from Jordan. He’s also done some things instinctively just playing football within the confines of our scheme, whether it’s a scramble drill – people probably saw that catch in the corner of the endzone – that’s him improving with a 12-year NFL quarterback to be in the right place at the right time.

And he has done that on little things. He’s showing a willingness to be a blocker, he’s showing understanding of how he fits within the scheme and the rhythm and timing of the quarterback in the pass game.

Kevin O’Connell

O’Connell raved months ago about Addison’s understanding of the offense. That bodes well for an early impact from the rookie on the field. The play he was referring to was Addison positioning himself in the corner of the endzone, giving Kirk Cousins a chance. Lewis Cine – who has also been one of the winners of camp – was a step late, and the young wideout made the catch for a touchdown.

Do Addison and
Minnesota Vikings WR Jordan Addison watching a video of himself on draft night — accidentally hanging up on the Vikings general manager and head coach. Minnesota selected Addison with the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

He started out working primarily with the second-team offense despite the departure of Adam Thielen. Jalen Nailor got the reps next to K.J. Osborn and Justin Jefferson. Once Nailor missed time with an injury, it was Addison replacing him. It will be an important development who will get the nod once Nailor returns, especially because he was an early camp standout.

Addison is a fantastic fit in Minnesota, playing next to Justin Jefferson, who will continue to draw the focus of opposing defenses. The Vikings needed someone to take advantage of Jefferson’s double teams and get open in one-on-one situations. Rookie Addison can do that and proved it on the practice field against fellow rookie Mekhi Blackmon. The video went viral on social media.

Addison recorded over 3,000 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns in only three seasons in his college career. In 2021, playing at Pittsburgh with first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett, he won the Biletnikoff Award as the nations’s top receiver, recording 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell laid out the next goals for his new offensive weapon:

I’m really excited about him, it’s incredibly early in his process, and making sure he knows the daily goal of just having the best possible Tuesday practice he can have, and then we roll right into the next day, and before you know it, that compounded gains start to really look like something not only he can be excited about but the confidence level of his teammates and his coaches will have in him will be really something that he’s earned.

Getting better daily is a good way to become the best version of himself. Addison is competing with Osborn and Nailor for reps, but his talent and the early praise could be a sign for a significant role early in the 2023 campaign. It remains to be seen if the Vikings want to let him play in the first preseason game on August 10th. The first regular season game is scheduled to be on September 10th.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt