Vikings Rookie Is Confident to Fill the Veteran’s Shoes

One Clear Draft
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The landing spot is always important for a rookie. Who knows how many fantastic prospects flamed out because they were stuck in the wrong situation? Opportunity and coaching are two significant things young players need to get their careers going and to improve. One Vikings rookie thinks he landed in the perfect organization for his development.

Vikings Rookie Is Confident to Fill the Veteran’s Shoes

The Vikings entered the draft with a handful of needs to fill. A new quarterback was a rumored option, just like an upgrade on the defensive line, a reinforcement for Flores’ secondary, or the selection of another wide receiver. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah chose the latter and gave head coach Kevin O’Connell a new wideout to work with. Jordan Addison became the 23rd overall pick.

Vikings Rookie Is Confident to Fill the Veterans' Shoes
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Reflecting on the draft, the rookie said on NFL Total Access: “It was just really special, I had the family there to support, and I just felt like I fell to the perfect organization.”

Addison came out of USC with some excellent traits but also some weaknesses. He is a smooth route runner and already a refined receiver despite not turning 22 before January 2024. On the flip side, his 173 pounds are on the lower end of the spectrum and could cause some troubles against press coverage and physical cornerbacks. However, he will not see much press coverage, and his new teammate Justin Jefferson will draw most of the attention – and cornerbacks without safety help usually tend to be more cautious with how much pressure they can put on a receiver.

Addison is already trying to pick up stuff and learn from the star wideout: “Oh, man, it’s just been all learning for me, not too much talking. Just out there on the field watching what he does and just trying to pick his brain to see why he wants to run his routes the way he does.”

Never Played in the Playoffs
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Both the rookie and the veteran have some similarities. Their route-running is their strength, and they had extremely productive college careers. Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver in 2021 when he dropped a receiving line of 100-1593-17 in Pittsburgh with now-Steelers passer Kenny Pickett before transferring to USC. Jefferson fired up 111 catches, 1,540 yards, and 18 touchdowns in 2019, helping the dominant LSU squad to a national championship.

The Vikings need their first-round rookie to contribute in his debut season, and the reason is obvious. Adam Thielen will be wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey in 2023. The good news is that Addison thinks he can replace the vet: “I ain’t going to get into it too much, comparing. I just know what I can do. I’m confident, and I am going to fill his shoes.”

Viking Has Everything
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To be allowed to fill Thielen’s shoes, he must beat out K.J. Osborn in a camp competition for the WR2 spot. That could be harder than expected, as Addison missed all of OTAs and mandatory minicamp because of an undisclosed injury. It is not supposed to be an issue going forward, and the Vikes expect him to be ready come training camp, but the missed time might have caused some delay in his development.

As a first-round selection, Addison obviously has the highest expectations of the draft class, but both Mekhi Blackmon and Jaquelin Roy have already taken some snaps with the first-team defense. Despite only having limited draft capital without a second-round pick, Adofo-Mensah appears to have found some nice additions for his 13-4 operation.

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