Dynamic Vikings Rookie Just Continues to Impress

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Leading up to the draft, nobody knew what to expect from the Minnesota Vikings and their general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He had too many holes to fill and could’ve gone in many directions. Even drafting a quarterback was a serious consideration, as well as strengthening the solid offense or adding some talent to the atrocious defense.

Dynamic Vikings Rookie Just Continues to Impress

Dynamic Vikings Rookie Just Continues to Impress
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a touchdown pass to take the lead late in the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 15 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at PayCor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. The Bengals won on an overtime field goal.

The three top quarterbacks came off the board early in the draft, and they apparently weren’t high on Will Levis. While defense certainly was an option, with the departure of wide receiver Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson needed a new running mate. Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell made the call to select standout receiver Jordan Addison, making him the fourth straight wideout off the board after Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, and Zay Flowers.

It is never smart to judge players in their rookie seasons, but sometimes it is just obvious a player is good. And Addison undoubtedly is one of those. He is the latest incredible Vikings receiver, following in the footsteps of Hall of Famers and all-time greats.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) during their football game Sunday, October 29, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Minnesota defeated Green Bay 24-10. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Playing next to Jefferson opens things up, but the rookie didn’t have that luxury during the star wideout’s absence. The Vikings asked Addison to take over the WR1 role, and he delivered, showing that he is not a product of Jefferson and Hockenson but rather an excellent player in his own right.

Through 14 games, Addison has produced 824 receiving yards, the second-most of the 2023 draft class only trailing Rams’ star Puka Nacua. Even more impressive than his yardage numbers are his touchdowns. He has found paydirt nine times, which not only ranks him at the top of his draft class but also fourth in the NFL behind MVP candidate Tyreek Hill and redzone threats Courtland Sutton and Mike Evans.

Kirk Cousins trusted his young playmaker early in his career, but once the veteran suffered his season-ending injury, Addison’s numbers dropped, most notably his five-game streak without any touchdowns. But he snapped that streak with two trips to the endzone on Saturday, including a cool run after the catch, running past everyone.

The Vikings suffered a heartbreaking loss in Cincinnati, but the two playmakers Addison and running back Ty Chandler surely were the winners and have earned more opportunities in the final stretch of the season and the potential playoff push.

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The former Biletnikoff Award winner has been a tremendous deep threat with sure hands, providing consistent help in the passing game. He has already racked up four touchdown catches of at least 35 yards, some on supernatural highlight plays. Dolphins star Hill is the only player in the league with more of those deep scores.

The biggest knock on him coming out of USC was the lack of size, but he has been excellent playing through contact and making contested catches. A fun aspect is that he will find more ways to hide his weaknesses with more experience in the NFL.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

With Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson in place for years to come, pending the expected extension for Jefferson, the Vikings are a great destination for every quarterback who is entering the draft. Having a bunch of decent weapons is how young QBs can develop into good players.

Addison is still only 21 years old and should be a staple of the organization. If he continues to improve into his second season, the Vikings will surely have one of the elite receiving corps in the NFL.

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