What Should Your Expectations Be for Jordan Addison’s Debut Season?

3 Rookies Could
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The Vikings didn’t address the bad defensive unit in the first round and instead brought in a new wide receiver. That position was another weakness of the team because of the decline of Adam Thielen. He struggled to get open in 2022, and it led to his release.

What Should Your Expectations Be for Jordan Addison’s Debut Season?

Jordan Addison was the fourth receiver taken in the draft behind Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, and Zay Flowers. Because of the situation he landed in, Addison could have the best rookie campaign, but what should Vikings fans really expect?

What Should Your Expectations Be for Jordan Addison’s Debut Season?
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Some of Minnesota’s fans have unreasonable expectations for their rookie receiver, and the reason is obvious. They saw Justin Jefferson in 2020 coming into the league and immediately becoming one of the best WRs in the game. That is unlikely to happen again, there’s a reason why Jefferson’s rookie campaign was so great, and it’s because it doesn’t usually happen like that. Not everyone is Randy Moss or Jefferson. That’s what makes them special.

Addison is in a wonderful situation. He landed in a pass-first offense with a decent passer, and his only real competition for the WR2 spot is K.J. Osborn, who hasn’t demonstrated that he is more than a third wideout of a team. His 655 and 650 receiving yards in the last couple of seasons were respectable numbers for a WR3 but are hardly WR2 statistics.

Viking Has Everything
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One could argue that his stats were capped because of Thielen’s presence, but the veteran wasn’t very effective in his age 32-season, and Osborn still didn’t take away his snaps. A fourth-year jump from Osborn is possible, but Addison is the more talented player, and if he’s as good as advertised, it will be hard for Osborn to keep the WR2 job for long.

For that reason, Addison is expected to be the second fiddle to Jefferson as an outside receiver. ESPN’s Mike Clay projected the rookie numbers, and Addison finished with 766 yards and 5 touchdowns. That sounds low, but in reality, it isn’t. We’re just spoiled by Jefferson’s greatness.

After three consecutive drafts in which at least three wide receivers were selected prior to pick No. 20, there were none this past April. In fact, Smith-Njigba, Johnson, Flowers and Addison were selected with four straight picks (Nos. 20-23) and were the only WRs picked in the first round. This area of the draft has rarely been a breeding ground for big rookie seasons. Since 2011, 17 WRs have been drafted in the 15-25 range, and only three of the 17 reached 800 yards (Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Justin Jefferson). And interestingly, only four of the 17 even played in at least 16 regular-season games, as the whole lot averaged 12.2 games played.

Mike Clay, ESPN

The analyst gave Smith-Njigba the same yardage total but one more touchdown.

Smith-Njigba was the most highly regarded WR in this class, but he’s stepping into an offense where he’ll be no higher than third on the depth chart (behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett). Addison has the easiest path to snaps among the first-round receivers, as his top competition for snaps opposite Jefferson will be KJ Osborn.

Those projections are always on the cautious side. It’s unreasonable to expect rookies to come in and blow everyone away by firing up 1,400 yards in their debut seasons like Jefferson did in 2020. But there’s a good chance that a couple of the four receivers taken in the first round will exceed the 766 yards.

Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, both college teammates of Smith-Njigba, finished the season with more than 1,000 receiving yards. Drake London had 866 and George Pickens 801. Each of the four wideouts scored 4 touchdowns.

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Of the 29 receivers selected in the first round, outside of the top 10, in the last ten years, only four recorded 1,000 yards. The average statistics in the rookie seasons were 580 yards and 3.5 touchdowns. Not all of them were as refined coming out of college as Addison, which should be considered. He is a great route-runner and had outstanding success in college in two different offenses. If you think Addison will record something between those 580 yards but don’t fantasize about more than 1,000 yards because those are outlier numbers, your expectations are fair.

Even if Addison is the real deal, it will still be Jefferson’s offense, and tight end Hockenson will also steal some targets. Fans of the purple team should be excited about their rookie, but they should expect the numbers to be closer to those of Osborn and Thielen in 2022 and not on Jefferson’s level instead of putting unreasonable pressure on their new player.

Regardless, everything we’ve heard from the Vikings camp is that their rookie is a fantastic player, which is promising. We should just give him time before we desire Pro Bowl numbers.

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