The Road to 53: WR Jordan Addison Has All the Potential to Be a Star

Everything You Need to Know About New Vikings WR Jordan Addison
Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) celebrates his touchdown scored againt the UCLA Bruins during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings had their rookies report to training camp on Sunday, July 23rd. Minnesota’s veterans also reported a little over a week ago, so training camp is in full swing in Eagan.

As the practice sessions begin, we are continuing to take a look at the depth pieces of this Vikings team, and where they may fit into the 2023 roster through our “Road to 53” series. The next player on our list is WR Jordan Addison, who the Vikings selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft with the 23rd overall pick.


Young Vikings Receiver
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison on stage after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings twenty third overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Addison was one of the most well-known high school football players in the Class of 2020, with 24/7 Sports ranking him as a four-star recruit and one of the top-150 recruits in the nation. As expected, he earned offers from multiple big-name programs, but ultimately, the wide receiver joined the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Addison’s freshman season of 2020 saw him appear in 10 of 11 games for Pittsburgh, and he immediately made his presence known. He recorded 60 receptions for 666 yards and 4 touchdowns. In his first ever collegiate game, he caught 7 passes against Austin Peay.

The duo of Kenny Pickett and Addison proved to be a fantastic one with great potential for the future, but during that 2020 season, the Panthers went 6-5 and missed out on a bowl game.

2020 may have been impressive for Addison, but 2021 was absolutely absurd. The receiver showed up to campus and played 14 games, recording 100 receptions for 1593 yards and 17 TDs. He caught at least 6 passes in 11 of the 14 games, and his touchdown total landed him atop all of the FBS.

The flaming Pittsburgh offense averaged 41.4 points per game, and with Pickett leading the way at QB along with his favorite target in Addison, the Panthers went 11-3 and made a Peach Bowl appearance, but they lost to Michigan State.

Following 2021, big changes happened for Addison. Kenny Pickett declared for the 2022 NFL Draft and landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so the receiver opted to transfer out of the program. His choice ended up being joining USC, who had recently landed new head coach Lincoln Riley as well as Wisconsin transfer QB Caleb Williams.

A further change for Addison in 2022 was the fact that he began being utilized much more as an outside wide receiver rather than in his usual spot in the slot. Even still, he remained productive for the Trojans, catching 59 passes for 875 yards and 8 TDs. USC would go 11-3 but lose to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl.

Following the season, Addison decided that he would head to the NFL, declaring for the 2023 Draft. He was selected 23rd overall by the Minnesota Vikings and now looks to try and make an impact on the team this year at the receiver spot.

How Addison Can Impact the 2023 Vikings

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Oct 15, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a pass against the Utah Utes in the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, Addison is fully in the mix for the WR2 spot on the Vikings roster in 2023. He and K.J. Osborn both have been showing out early on in training camp, and the battle seems to be neck-and-neck through the first week and a half of camp.

Addison was a very intriguing player going into the 2023 Draft because of his buttery smooth route-running ability. He moves effortlessly and can change directions on a dime, allowing him to shake defenders in coverage. As a result, the rookie may be able to turn into an Adam Thielen-esque player in the red zone, putting up seasons of double-digit TDs as his career goes along.

We also have to keep in mind the fact that Addison is an extremely versatile receiver, showing production both on the outside and in the slot over the course of his career. Kevin O’Connell and Wes Phillips had Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn switch between the two spots on a regular basis last year, and now, they should be able to pull off a similar philosophy with their rookie.

Addison won’t only compete for that WR2 spot behind Jefferson, though. As has become apparent throughout the early stages of camp, the receiver can contribute on special teams. During his outstanding season at Pittsburgh in 2021, not only was he a terrific receiver, but Addison also recorded 12 punt returns and totaled 185 yards, an average of 15.4 yards per return. Don’t be surprised if he gets a few chances to return punts with the Vikings as well.

Obstacles in His Way

Vikings Draft Thermometer: WR Jordan Addison
Sep 24, 2022; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) makes a catch for a touchdown against the Oregon State Beavers in the second half at Reser Stadium. The touchdown was the game winner as Trojans defeated Beavers 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Addison is a terrific route-runner, but what happens when he gets bullied at the line of scrimmage by larger cornerbacks? The wide receiver is rail-thin standing at 6 feet tall and 174 pounds, right around the same size as Eagles WR Devonta Smith.

With new rules in place, this is perhaps less of a problem than it would have been 5-10 years ago, but it still remains to be seen how the rookie will be able to adjust to a more physical, faster version of football at the NFL level.

Addison isn’t necessarily the most explosive receiver, either. He won’t be a burner down the field, blowing past opposing secondaries. As a result, he must find a way to get involved in the offense in the short and intermediate areas of the field.

The Prediction

Purple Headlines
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison poses for a photo on the NFL Draft Red Carpet before the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, Addison has all the makings of a potential Pro Bowl receiver at the NFL level. His ability to run just about every route in the book as well as his versatility in the passing game should be a massive boon for Minnesota’s offense this season, considering they can no longer rely on Adam Thielen. Keep an eye on his growth as a potential punt return candidate as well throughout training camp.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.