Having a Plan Is the Main Priority for Vikings Wingman

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The Organized Team Activities dominate the dead period between the draft and training camp. It is the first time media members get access to the new athletes via interviews and by watching practice sessions. Most players have arrived in Eagan to participate, though the face of the franchise, Justin Jefferson, is still absent. His contract extension is the one remaining question mark from a roster-building perspective.

Having a Plan Is the Main Priority for Vikings Wingman

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Jefferson’s top wingman is 2023 rookie Jordan Addison. The Pittsburgh and USC product immediately earned a prominent role on offense. At first, he split reps with K.J. Osborn once the season began, but later in the year, nobody questioned Addison’s status as the team’s true WR2. Jefferson’s injury accelerated his timeline to grow into a terrific receiver, which might have benefited his development.

The concerns in the draft included his size and whether his smaller frame would impact him negatively when opposing defensive backs attack him with a more physical approach. Indeed, there were some minor problems, but he has excelled in all situations, including physical defenders. Some of his sweetest highlights came when he played through contact.

Week Is an Early
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) does a Lambeau Leap with Vikings fans Craig Lindsay, Nick Johnson, and Chris Gangl against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Vikings won the game, 24-10. © Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK.

On Wednesday, he was available to the media and answered some fascinating questions, most notably about the elements of his game he wants to improve.

My releases, that’s been the main focus for me, and I feel like it’s been paying off. My work is showing out there. Just having a plan once I get to the line (of scrimmage), being decisive and just making sure that I’m locked in on my releases. I feel like it’s going well so far.

Last year, I wasn’t as confident in my releases, I wasn’t decisive, and I didn’t have a plan when I was coming up to the line. I was freelancing, trying to do what I could to make something work, but now it’s my focus (to have a plan).

Jordan Addison

Rookies always need some technical refinement when coming into the league, even the top guys in the draft. This year’s duo, Dallas Turner and J.J. McCarthy, isn’t different. McCarthy must include some additional releases, angles, and throwing powers into his arsenal, while defender Turner needs some technical instructions to have more pass-rushing moves in his back pocket.

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For Addison, it is to have a plan before the snaps begin rather than freestyling on how he wants to attack defenders. That could indeed increase the chance of him getting open.

He showed his talent in 2023, but another year of experience could boost his value for the Vikings even further. He caught 70 passes for 911 yards and ten touchdowns as a rookie, despite seeing a bump in production with the subpar QB play after Kirk Cousins had suffered his season-ending injury.

The quarterback’s play will be crucial for his numbers in the future. He mentioned that Sam Darnold looks better than expected and that rookie McCarthy is confident and doing a good job. At this point, it is a mystery who will start in Week 1, but either will likely be a downgrade from Cousins.

Vikings QB
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Still, Addison had solid production with Nick Mullens under center, although his numbers dipped with Joshua Dobbs. This shows that head coach Kevin O’Connell is talented enough as a play-caller and schemer to keep him involved if the passer is somewhat capable and confident passing the ball.

Addison is only 22 years old, and his continued progress will be fun to watch.

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