Todd McShay Tabs Exciting WR for Vikings Round 1 Mock

Minnesota Vikings fans are embroiled in feverish debate about the team’s primary draft need in 2023. Minnesota owns the 23rd overall pick, and if it doesn’t trade out of the spot, it could select a cornerback, defensive lineman, or wide receiver, according to most credible theories.

Left up to ESPN’s Todd McShay, though, the pick is simple — USC’s Jordan Addison.

Todd McShay Tabs
Dec 2, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) runs the ball against the Utah Utes during the second half in the PAC-12 Football Championship at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

In December, McShay envisioned Boston College’s Zay Flowers for the Vikings in Round 1, but with updated drafted order after the season capped, it’s evidently a different wideout in Addison.

Todd McShay Tabs Exciting WR for Vikings Round 1 Mock

McShay explained the Addison pick this week, “Adam Thielen is entering his age-33 season, so Minnesota could take the best player available here and get a speedy, instinctive running mate for Justin Jefferson. Addison was just shy of 1,600 receiving yards in 2021 at Pitt before transferring to USC and picking up another 875 yards and eight scores. He has versatility to line up outside or in the slot.”

CBS Sports Says WR
Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) celebrates his touchdown scored against the UCLA Bruins during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings indeed have Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Nailor, and Jalen Reagor under contract for 2023. Yet, Thielen’s status with the club is in jeopardy because of a gaudy $19.9 million cap hit. The team has already begun discussing options for the mammoth sum, and if the resolution is not to Thielen’s liking, the longtime Viking could be traded or outright released.

And that would create a crater on the depth chart next to WR2.

McShay added about Addison to the Vikings, “For those wondering why the Vikings would sidestep their defensive needs — they allowed 5.9 yards per play in 2022, third highest in the NFL — it really comes down to the board. Texas A&M safety Antonio Johnson or Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders might fit, but this is still early for both. Remember, free agency still lies ahead.”

Nov 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) following the victory against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

Addison is known for speed and will probably run a 4.4 forty-yard dash at the upcoming NFL Combine. At 6’0″ and 175 pounds, he’s certainly not known for size, but general managers care less and less about “big wide receivers” in the NFL.

Pro Football Network’s James Fragoza describes Addison in this way, “Insane catches are littered throughout his highlight reel, and you can see at least one in almost every game. He demonstrated elite concentration near the sideline and in the end zone. He exhibited rare body control midair and when adjusting to passes. And the former Panther goes up with vigor and attacks the ball.”

Vikings Will Enter 2023 Offseason with Familiar Problem
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Minnesota’s defense arguably needs more offseason attention than the wide receiver section of the roster, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could address those needs in free agency, which begins in less than a month. The Vikings are expected to clear cap space in the next four weeks and could possess about $30-$40 million when the process is complete. Then, Adofo-Mensah might sign free-agent defenders on the open market to utilize inside new defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ system.

As of late January, Vikings fans believed cornerback was the wisest option for Minnesota in the 1st Round of the draft.

Minnesota has had luck with USC Trojans via the draft, including Joey Browner (S, 1983), Everson Griffen (DE, 2010), and Hall of Famer Ron Yary (OT, 1968).

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).

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