Jordan Addison May Be Getting the “Justin Jefferson Treatment”

Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell takes to wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings begin their preseason this week, taking on the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday evening.

As a result, they released their first unofficial depth chart of the 2023 season on Monday. There were a few interesting tidbits from this initial depth chart, including K.J. Osborn being listed as WR2 above Jordan Addison.

Addison, the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, was a collegiate star. He split time at Pittsburgh and USC, totaling 219 receptions for 3134 yards and 29 TDs over the course of three seasons. Considering this production and his ability to play either in the X, Y (the two boundary spots), or Z (in the slot), many expect the new Vikings receiver to become a star.

Jordan Addison
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison reacts 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

However, like the most recent Vikings star receiver, Justin Jefferson, it seems that Addison is going to have to earn that starting spot. If you remember back to 2020, Jefferson began the regular season as the WR3 behind Adam Thielen and Olabisi Johnson.

Jefferson would play just 65 offensive snaps over the first two weeks of the season, garnering a total of 6 targets. Of those targets, he hauled in 5 receptions for 70 yards.

The 2020 first-round pick finally broke into the starting lineup against the Tennessee Titans, and he immediately exploded onto the scene. While the Vikings lost that game 31-30, Jefferson did his best to keep the game competitive, producing 7 receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown.

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) scores on a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) watches during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Since that game, Jefferson has never left the starting lineup. He has never had fewer than 4 targets in a single game since those first two games of his career and has gone on to become one of the very best players in the entire league.

We may not see such a dramatic outburst from Addison, but we should expect a similar process with the newest rookie receiver. Keep in mind, he missed all of mandatory minicamp while rehabbing an injury. Then just days before he was to report to camp, he was hit with a reckless driving charge.

Osborn is already a far more proven receiver than Bisi Johnson was when Jefferson entered the league. The current Vikings WR2 has hit or surpassed 650 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons while his 110 receptions are more than double that of Johnson’s career total of 45. As a result, he is much tougher competition for that WR2 spot than what Jefferson faced during his rookie season.

That should be considered a positive thing, too. The fact that Minnesota has three receivers that are deserving of starting roles is something that would be envied by most NFL teams. It is a big reason why so many expect the Vikings offense to be one of the best in the league once again.

Reaction to Greatest Comeback in NFL History
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The point, Vikings fans, is that we shouldn’t panic about the rookie not being listed as a starter on this first depth chart. It may be easy to do so, considering how things went with many of the top 2022 Draft picks (Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth).

Neither Cine or Booth were able to make much of a dent last season in the depth chart, and a compound leg fracture only made matters worse for Cine. Booth did get one start during the season, but he was a last resort after so many injuries occurred at the cornerback position. In all, Cine played just two defensive snaps last season while Booth played 105.

However, we must also harken back to the comments made by head coach Kevin O’Connell when the depth chart first came out. The head coach offered a word of caution regarding a potential overreaction to where players stand on this initial depth chart.

“While we’re very much into the competition, right in the meat of the competition phase of training camp, I would not over evaluate any one particular area,” O’Connell said. “We got a lot of jobs guys are still fighting for. We’re going to allow not only our practices but joint practices and preseason games to play out before we make any final determinations.”

Addison has earned some great compliments from the coaching staff to this point in his Vikings career, but much like any rookie, the transition to the NFL is a tough one. He simply has to keep putting in great work. O’Connell also praised Addison for his work-ethic not only in the passing game, but also as support in the running game.

“I know folks don’t get too fired up like I do about receiver’s roles in the run game, so I try not to get caught up in the weeds with you sometimes, but I do appreciate you asking because that has really been one of the highlights when he didn’t really get to take part in a lot of things in the spring, seeing not only his ownership but also his willingness versus this defense where you’re gonna sometimes not be always running at the best angles, you gonna have to have receivers willing to dig out. To see him not only be willing to do it but then physically and fundamentally do it has been a real positive.”

This rendition of Vikings leadership has been willing to give young players a chance to shine early on (Ed Ingram started all 17 games for the Vikings last year in his rookie season). It is a bit of a contrast to former leadership where both Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw spent portions of their rookie seasons as reserves. This is another feather of confidence that should go into Addison’s cap.

To this point, Addison has shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to be out there on that field. His time is coming; we just have to continue exercising patience.

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.