Do Addison and Jefferson Have Powerful Parallels?

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. | Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings took Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was not the first wide receiver taken that year but has ascended to arguably the best in the game. Minnesota selected Jordan Addison three years later, but what parallels do they possess?

Do Addison and Jefferson Have Powerful Parallels?

Let’s get this out of the way early…It’s lofty to assume that Justin Jefferson is a surefire Hall of Fame talent this early in his career. It might be equally as lofty to expect Jordan Addison to live up to the billing the Vikings star wideout has assumed this early. Both were picked in the first round and with just one spot differentiating the two, there are parallels to explore.

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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.

Justin Jefferson stepped in for the Vikings and was expected to take over the vacancy left by Stefon Diggs. A direct result of that trade with the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota needed someone to help alongside Adam Thielen. Now with Thielen in Carolina, the Vikings grabbed Addison to fill the void felt as the Minnesota native aged.

So, coming into the NFL as Jefferson did before him, what does Addison bring to the table? Unlike the former LSU Tigers product, Addison did transfer to USC after two years spent at Pittsburgh. He was used more in the slot for the Panthers but really blew up as a threat working with Caleb Williams at USC.

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Jefferson’s best season in college was his junior year, in which he turned 111 receptions into 1,540 yards. Addison topped that number as a sophomore with Pitt, going for 1,593 yards on 100 receptions. Addison did miss some time last year, playing in just 11 of the Trojans 14 games, but his 875 yards came on just 59 receptions, and he continued to be a monster.

Winning a Biletnikoff award with Pitt before transferring, Addison already had plenty of hype when joining USC. He’s not the same type of wide receiver as Jefferson, but he could find himself equally talented. Addison does have a bit of a size concern in that he isn’t a big-bodied wideout, but he has shown an ability to battle with opposing defenders and win the ball at the top.

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Ultimately it will be somewhat of a wait-and-see approach to how Addison fares at the next level. It took a few games for former head coach Mike Zimmer to insert Jefferson into the starting lineup, but that certainly won’t be the case with Addison. Kevin O’Connell knows his offense needs a true number two wideout, and Addison was taken to fit that bill.

Kirk Cousins immediately allows Addison to develop a connection with an established quarterback. The Vikings employing Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson in the passing game should give them a very difficult-to-deal-with three-headed monster. How far the former Trojans standout can take his game out of the gate remains to be seen, but it should be a fun show to watch.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.