The Grades Are In: Vikings Get a New Weapon

Will Excite
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody knew what the Vikings would do in the first round. Their draft menu was more unpredictable than in recent years. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t take a stab at a QB and ignored the defense, at least in round one. Some good players are still available at those two positions, but the Vikings might have to trade up to get them.

Minnesota exited the first round of the draft happy. They added a new toy to play with for Kevin O’Connell, who now has a plethora of weapons. Former USC and Pittsburgh standout Jordan Addison will help Justin Jefferson eliminate some double teams.

The Grades Are In: Vikings Get a New Weapon

The Grades Are In, Vikings Get a New Weapon
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports.

Every big outlet is giving out grades for every single pick, and the grades for the Vikings’ first pick in the 2023 draft are in. Most think the Vikings made a steal and addressed the right position.

Bleacher Report: B

Addison gives Minnesota a legitimate threat to complement Jefferson. Much like when the 2020 first-round pick entered the league, the incoming rookie is projected as a slot receiver. Jefferson grew into a dominant receiver from any alignment. Addison is smaller, but he simply knows how to get open.

With Aaron Rodgers now out of the NFC North, the division is there for the Vikings to take yet again. Jefferson and Addison can maximize what could be Kirk Cousins’ final season with the organization.

Brent Sobleski

CBSSports: A

He is my favorite receiver in this class. He will be a perfect complement to Justin Jefferson, He is a great route runner. Needs to get a little bigger since he weighs 175 pounds, but that will happen.

Pete Prisco
to Meet with
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF: Good

The Vikings stick at Pick 23 and come away with a talented wide receiver to pair with Justin Jefferson. Addison won the Biletnikoff Award with Pittsburgh in 2021 before transferring to USC, and he finished the past two seasons with 25 touchdowns from 159 receptions.

PFF Editorial Team A

Addison was too strong a value for the Vikings to pass up. He would have been picked earlier if not for his slight build, average top-end speed for his size, and occasional drops. Addison is such a tough player, though. He will be a great complement for Justin Jefferson working from the slot.

Chad Reuter
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

TheAthletic: C

The Vikings’ offense gets more explosive with this move, but it comes at the risk of exposing an already challenged defense.

Scott Dochterman

FoxSports: A-

Addison may not be as big or dynamic as some of the other top receivers in this class, but he’s a significantly more polished player, winning with fluidity and savviness alike. He has the sure routes and hands to potentially became a real stat-monster in the NFL, specializing out of the slot. The greater size and physicality he’ll face at the pro level are legitimate concerns, but modern NFL rules favor slight pass-catchers like Addison.

Proven effective in two different offenses against quality competition, I think he has the grit and smarts to prove a quality starter early in his pro career and should be an immediate boost to a Minnesota offense that needed to find a replacement for Adam Thielen opposite superstar Justin Jefferson. 

Bob Rang

TheRinger: A+

This is a player-team connection that I frequently put in my mock drafts because I absolutely love Addison’s fit with the Vikings. The former Biletnikoff winner brings nuanced route-running skills and natural playmaking talent—making him the perfect complement to Justin Jefferson. With T.J. Hockenson and K.J. Osborn also in the mix, Kirk Cousins won’t have any shortage of pass catchers downfield.

Danny Kelly
Fired up a No
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Most of the outlets agree with the selection. Addison will play in an offense with Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, K.J. Osborn, and either Dalvin Cook or another running back.

In the next few years, the Vikings are set at the positions that help a young QB thrive and could be a perfect spot for a rookie next year. Jefferson and Addison, the two top receivers, are the youngest Vikings offensive players, and the team also employs arguably the NFL’s top offensive tackle duo.

The only slightly negative grade came from The Athletic‘s Scott Dochterman. He apparently likes Addison yet wished the team addressed the defense — understandable after fielding an awful unit last year and seeing defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and every capable cornerback leave in free agency.

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