Vikings Land a Top WR Prospect in Latest NFL.com Mock Draft
The 2023 NFL Draft is nearly a week away, and the Minnesota Vikings have a number of needs heading into this year’s draft. Arguably, the biggest need amongst these is wide receiver with the loss of Adam Thielen. It seems that NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager agrees as the Vikings land a top WR prospect in his first mock draft of the season.
That wide receiver prospect is none other than Jordan Addison, who spent the 2022 season with the USC Trojans after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh during the previous offseason. He spent two years at Pittsburgh prior to the transfer and grew into one of the more prolific collegiate receivers during his tenure there.
This past season at USC, Addison solidified his case as a top WR prospect in this year’s draft class, catching 59 passes for 875 yards and 8 TDs over the course of 11 games with the Trojans. This came after a ridiculously productive 2021 season at Pittsburgh that featured 100 catches, 1579 receiving yards, and 17 TDs. His yardage and touchdown totals each led the ACC and ranked among the top-five in the NCAA that year.
As for the draft fit with the Vikings, this selection makes a lot of sense. Addison is a crisp route-runner, capable of making effortless movements to throw off defenders. He’s also an extremely versatile receiver, playing the majority of his snaps in the slot for Pittsburgh before moving to the outside at USC and maintaining steady production.
Grouping Addison in with Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn, who are all very capable of playing in the slot or on the outside as well, would create a threesome of receivers that offer a ton of options for Kevin O’Connell’s offense. Not to mention, they also have T.J. Hockenson at tight end, who can offer additional help in the passing game in a variety of ways. Here is what Schrager had to say of the Vikings pick at No. 23:
I know of at least one team that has Addison as its top-rated wide receiver. With Adam Thielen now in Carolina, this pairing makes sense. That said, Minnesota can go a variety of ways here. With Kirk Cousins in the last year of his contract, quarterback could be an option, but the Vikings might have to aggressively jump up the board in order to get their man at that position.
The biggest knock on Addison at this point in the draft process is a simple one: he’s a very slight receiver at 5’11 and 173 pounds. This combined with a lack of catch strength (had double-digit drop numbers in both 2020 and 2021) could cause problems for him at the NFL level, but it must be stated that he cleaned up a lot of his drops this past season for USC, only dropping 2 of his 79 targets in 2022.
Another underrated strength in Addison’s game is his ability to return kicks. During 2021, he took over the main punt return duties down the stretch of the season, and he returned 12 punts for a total of 185 yards, averaging 15.4 yards per return. Given the fact that the Vikings have had trouble filling that role in years past, this could give Addison some added value in Minnesota’s eyes.
The Vikings clearly have expressed interest in Addison as a prospect, seeing as they’ve had him in Eagan on a top-30 visit this spring ahead of the draft. Add that onto the fact that they certainly could use some WR help for 2023, and this pick makes a ton of sense for Minnesota. The only real question is whether or not he will fall all the way to the 23rd overall pick.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.