3 Takeaways from Vikings Rookie Minicamp | 2023

rookie minicamp highlights from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall's first practice as a Viking after being selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Minnesota found Hall in Round 5 of the event, and he could serve as QB3 in 2023.

While Za’Darius Smith was busy experiencing a trade to the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings fans digested the swap, the team’s rookie minicamp quietly got underway on Friday.

Forty-two players attended the event — from the draft, undrafted free agency, and tryouts.

3 Takeaways from Vikings Rookie Minicamp | 2023

These are the three primary takeaways:

1. Jordan Addison Dazzles

from Vikings Rookie
Jordan Addison on the 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.

Let’s just say it would’ve been weird if Addison didn’t dazzle at minicamp, so there’s that. But the team and coaches were not at all disappointed.

And as a surprise to no one, Addison ‘looked the part’ out of the gate as a Viking. Kevin O’Connell noted his performance, “Jordan’s been meeting over Zoom a little bit since we drafted him, obviously within the confines of the rules.”

“You can tell he’s a little bit ahead of a lot of the guys out on the field today, where he’s lining up, understanding exactly what that play means for what routes he has and how to go adjust once the picture changes when that ball’s snapped. I thought Jordan had a really good day and just looks and feels the part, which is exactly what I expected out of him,” O’Connell added.

Let the summer-long fascination with a Justin Jefferson + Jordan Addison duo officially begin.

2. They Love Ivan Pace Jr. and Andre Carter II

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports.

Don’t look now, but two undrafted free agents will likely make the Vikings active roster — or the practice squad, at the very least.

O’Connell said the Vikings considered Pace Jr. “one of the best linebackers in the draft,” and yes, that would include Drew Sanders, Trenton Simpson, and Jack Campbell. To announce that voluntarily at rookie minicamp and then cut the man three months later would be goofy.

And on Carter II, Minnesota’s skipper raved, “If we’re coaching against a double-digit sack guy, we’re going to have a plan, whether it’s chipping, taking the slide to him, matchups, putting him in less ideal situations than just rushing downhill one-on-one.”:

Like Pace Jr., the Vikings allegedly pondered selecting Carter II at points throughout the draft and evidently just got lucky that neither man was picked.

The takeaway? The post-draft smoke regarding Pace Jr. and Carter II is real.

3. O’Connell Naturally Gravitated to the New QB

Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course this was gonna happen, huh?

The former mid-round quarterback, O’Connell, took an instant liking to the new mid-to-late-round signal-caller. Whoodathunkit? The Vikings found Hall in Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft, and there’s a quasi-realistic path for the 25-year-old to take over QB1 when Kirk Cousins departs.

O’Connell said about Hall, “I spent a lot of time with Jaren, and I’m a big fan of his — love the way he came out and commanded a group of guys that are learning a bunch of information for the first time. There were some ups, there were some downs, and that’s what we expect and ultimately just trying to give him tangible real things.”

Until he’s not the head coach, the Vikings will always have a built-in advantage with their head coach as a quarterback whisperer. Many teams have ‘offensive-minded’ head coaches, but few are former quarterbacks.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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