Looking Back at Jordan Addison’s Rookie Year

Do Addison and
Minnesota Vikings WR Jordan Addison watching a video of himself on draft night -- accidentally hanging up on the Vikings general manager and head coach. Minnesota selected Addison with the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

When the Minnesota Vikings went into the 2023 NFL Draft, they could have utilized their first-round pick on more than a few positions. Ultimately, the organization landed on a wide receiver from USC. Now, with his first year behind him, how did Jordan Addison fare?

Looking Back at Jordan Addison’s Rookie Year

Minnesota found themselves in a spot where a pass catcher was necessary because Adam Thielen had moved on to the Carolina Panthers. It was wildly apparent during the 2022 season that starting quarterback Kirk Cousins needed more weapons, and that was before Irv Smith Jr. went down with an injury. The immediate replacement was T.J. Hockenson, and while he provided a substantial upgrade, he was still just one body.

Back at Jordan
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By now, Justin Jefferson has emerged as the best wide receiver across the entire NFL. Utilizing his talents fully requires a need to keep the defense honest. Hockenson helped to do that last season, but it was clear that Thielen had lost a step and wasn’t drawing the same attention. K.J. Osborn certainly hadn’t elevated himself past WR3 duties, and despite a big game against the Indianapolis Colts, he largely flew under the radar.

The selection of Addison immediately gave Minnesota another high-caliber option on the outside, and it didn’t take long to realize his ceiling was substantial. Unlike Mike Zimmer, who slow-played a bit Jefferson as a rookie, Kevin O’Connell got him immediately involved, and he was in the starting lineup by Week 2.

Addison hauled seven of his first 11 targets out of the gate while finding the end zone twice. He added another eight targets in Week 3, of which he hauled in six, and it was evident he could assume the role of possession wide receiver while also taking the top off of the defense. By Week 7, Addison recorded his first century mark contest, putting up 123 yards against a very good San Francisco 49ers team. With Jefferson succumbing to a hamstring injury, it was Addison who became the top option in the passing game, and he carried that torch well.

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After Cousins went down against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8, the Vikings understandably saw a dip across the board through the air. With seven touchdowns to his credit at that point, Addison only found the end zone three more times the rest of the way. Despite ineptitude shown by Josh Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and rookie Jaren Hall, Addison continued to make his presence felt. He was a perfect 6-for-6 on targets against the Bengals while recording his second 100-yard contest and scoring twice.

This wasn’t quite the 1,400-yard season that Jefferson produced in his first year as a professional, but it was hardly a misstep in the scheme of a launching point either. Addison finished third in receiving yards among rookie pass catchers and tied with Lions tight end Sam LaPorta for touchdowns.

How the Vikings build their offense going forward largely hinges on the quarterback position. If Cousins is back, there is a seamless process to move forward. If the reins are turned over to a different veteran or a rookie, then growing pains for all involved should be expected.

6 Winners from
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It’s clear that Jefferson expects a certain level of performance from the player throwing him the football, and Addison will soon be able to command that level of respect if he continues down this road. Minnesota may have among the best wide receiver duo in the entire league, and finding them both in the first round of recent drafts is a nice come-up for an organization needing some good fortune.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.