The ESPN Prediction for Jordan Addison Is Fair

from Vikings Rookie
Jordan Addison on first day as a Viking after the team selected him in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Vikings chose Addison 23rd on April 27th, 2023, and he'll immediately vie for a WR2 job next to Justin Jefferson.

Minnesota Vikings fans are accustomed to behemoth rookie seasons from wide receivers.

But the campaigns of Randy Moss, Percy Harvin, and Justin Jefferson make those men special. So expecting the new guy, Jordan Addison, to mimic a Mossian, Harvinian, or Jeffersonian standard is probably poppycock.

The ESPN Prediction for Jordan Addison Is Fair

Ergo, when ESPN projected Addison’s 2023 statistics this week as 766 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, it made sense. That’s a reasonably good-WR rookie statline.

Prediction for Jordan
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected Addison with the 23rd overall pick one month ago in a spot where he was expected to trade back for extra draft capital or choose a defensive player. But these are the Vikings, after all, a team renowned for wide receiver majesty, and the young executive banged the button for pass-catching affluence.

And when Justin Jefferson came on the scene in 2020, he recorded 1,400 receiving yards in his first season, the most ever by a player in his rookie year — until Ja’Marr Chase arrived in the NFL one year later. Tabulating 1,400+ yards as a rookie is not the norm. Cooper Kupp fired up 869 in 2017. DeAndre Hopkins was accountable for 802 in 2013. Larry Fitzgerald produced 780 in 2004.

1st Mock Draft Says
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s smarter to expect half of Jefferson’s total for Addison than anywhere close to 1,400. Why? Well, Jefferson is great, and nobody knows if Addison will replicate Jefferson’s path. Too, Jefferson and Addison share a target load, team, and quarterback, and the Vikings won’t showcase multiple 1,400-yard wideouts in the same season.

ESPN’s Mike Clay wrote about the 2023 WR draft class with his projections, “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.”

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

“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 K.J. Osborn,” he concluded.

Addison, indeed, must split targets with Osborn, mentioned by Clay, and Jefferson — plus tight end T.J. Hockenson. If one believes Addison will mirror Jefferson’s 2020 campaign while Osborn and Hockenson perform at customary levels, Kirk Cousins would have to fling about 6,000 passing yards all over the field — a longshot.

You don’t have to ‘lower your expectations’ about Addison. He can play phenomenally inside the Vikings offense and still not crack the magical 1,000-yard barrier.

Clay is correct. Addison tallying below 1,000 yards is likelier than a Jefferson 2020 redux of 1,400 yards. A lot of mouths to feed, this Vikings offense.


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.