Vikings Playmaker Puts League on Notice
The Minnesota Vikings escaped with a victory at home against the highly-touted San Francisco 49ers in their best game in a long time. They won another nailbiter, coming away with a 22-17 win, climbing to a 3-4 record that puts the team in reach of the playoffs despite the horrible season start. In a real team win, the playmakers had to step up to help out Kirk Cousins and that is exactly what they did.
Vikings Playmaker Puts League on Notice
Facing an elite defense with stars all over the field, the Vikings were envisioned to struggle to move the ball, especially without the reigning Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson who missed the second of a minimum of four games on IR with a hamstring injury.
Because of his absence, it was crucial for the other guys to step up and show that they weren’t just Jefferson’s supporting cast but decent football players in their own rights. And they stepped up. Five players had at least 30 receiving yards, and three of them gained at least 60 yards. But one guy turned heads around the league as the Monday Night spotlight wasn’t too bright for him.
Rookie wideout Jordan Addison showed why he was a first-round pick and proved that the Vikings were lucky to get him as the three teams ahead of them also picked receivers. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, and Quentin Johnston have combined for two scores through Week 7, the same number Addison produced against the 49ers alone. His touchdown count is up to six, ranking him second in the NFL only behind Tyreek Hill.
His game started with a strange play. Kirk Cousins threw to a covered Addison and the ball ended up in the hands of Charvarius Ward. Some folks think Cousins shouldn’t have thrown the pass while others think Addison should’ve caught it. At the end of the day, it was a turnover and both opinions are correct to some extent.
But Addison refused to let that one play define his night. He was Cousins’ target on many crucial downs and he amassed a total of 123 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. The rookie was the third Vikings receiver with at least 100 yards in a Monday Night game. The other two? Justin Jefferson and Randy Moss, so he is pretty good company. He proved that he can be a WR1 if needed and is more than just a complementary piece to Jefferson.
The most notable play, however, will most likely be played in highlight tapes for years. Cousins threw a desperation pass down the field with time dwindling in the first half. What appeared to be an interception ended up with Addison running down the field into the endzone.
After the game, he was asked about the play and the difference to the interception: “You ain’t going to get it twice. No, Sir, I need that back. It was pretty similar but I needed it, I needed that one. I couldn’t let him get it twice.”
The rookie briefly exited the game because of cramps but returned after a trip to the locker room and helped the Vikings late in the game.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell revealed what he learned about Addison:
Physical and mental toughness. We asked him to do a lot, he did a lot for us tonight in the gameplan. Just take that end-of-half play that he makes and essentially it’s the same type of thing (as the interception). This was versus an all-out pressure, Kirk made a great check and for him to make that play on that ball where it was, was a game-changing play.
Jordan’s been everything I hoped for from the moment I cut on the tape of his time in college but he has been more than that. He’s been really taking over a role within our team, within our offense. He’s earned an incredible amount of trust from Kirk and the rest of our guys. Jordan was fantastic tonight.Kevin O’Connell
His performance on national television is the kind of game that puts a Rookie of the Year trophy in reach and Vikings fans are already excited to see Jefferson coming back and teaming up with post-breakout Addison. He is now up to 400 yards and six touchdowns.
And Just Like That, The Vikings Are Back
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