Vikings Rookie Unfazed by Big Shoes to Fill

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

On paper this season, the Minnesota Vikings will attempt to mimic the closest trio to ‘Three Deep’ they’ve employed since Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Jake Reed 25 years ago.

The objective is now possible thanks to the 1st-Round selection of Jordan Addison in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Vikings Rookie Unfazed by Big Shoes to Fill

Minnesota has playmakers galore on offense, including Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, Alexander Mattison, K.J. Osborn — and Addison from USC.

Vikings Rookie Unfazed
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

And Addison became a Viking for one primary reason — Adam Thielen’s departure. The beloved wide receiver was released in March and found his way to the Carolina Panthers soon after. Instead of fully trusting Osborn for WR2, Minnesota’s general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, stepped up the draft plate and swung for the fences with Addison.

Meanwhile, with about 2.5 months to go before the start of the regular season, Addison is unfazed by filling Thielen’s shoes in the Vikings offense. He told NFL Network’s Total Access show last week, “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.”

Included in OROY
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Thielen left the Vikings as the franchise’s fourth-most prolific scorer of receiving touchdowns and fifth in receiving yards in team history. Addison has a long way to go before nibbling at Thielen comparisons, but out of the gate, he has the confidence necessary to start the trek.

Addison also mentioned the effect of Jefferson around him, “Oh, man, it’s just been all learning for me, not too much talking. Just out there on the field watching what he do and just trying to pick his brain to see why he wants to run his routes the way he do.”

Bold Prediction for
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Meanwhile, Addison’s declaration about Thielen’s shoes isn’t his first confident ooze of the offseason. He also took note of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, and Zay Flowers getting drafted before him a couple of months ago, telling Vikings coaches in May, “I’m so excited to be here. I’m ready to work. This is where I want to be at. I’m glad I’m here. Three receivers went before me. That’s all the fuel I needed. I’m ready to go.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Addison delivered 3,134 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns in three seasons at Pittsburgh and USC, so he has the production backbone to ‘replace’ Thielen.

And when autumn rolls around, he isn’t afraid one iota of the assignment.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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