The guy they wanted, USC wide receiver Jordan Addison, fell right into their laps — and apparently, Addison garnered interest from at least one other team that tried to pry the 23rd pick away from Minnesota.
KSTP’s Darren Wolfson reported on April 28 that the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints both made trade offers for the Vikings’ spot in the first round. As a run on wide receivers emerged starting in the early ’20s of the draft, it was time for teams needing the draft’s elite tier of wide receivers to strike.
And the Vikings, who were high on Addison, did not fall to the temptation of trading down while on the clock.
“Two teams, I hear, that had an interest in moving up to 23 when the #Vikings were on the clock: Saints (29 and Chiefs (31),” Wolfson tweeted. “Belief is at least one of those teams would’ve taken Jordan Addison. Vikes like him so much, trade offers not rich enough, stayed at 23.”
Minnesota only holds four more picks in the draft and none in the second round. Declining additional draft capital is a statement of the Vikings’ confidence in Addison, who visited TCO Performance Center earlier this month and was said to love if he became a Viking per Wolfson.
He, and the Vikings, got their wish.
Kirk Cousins Sounds off on Vikings Selecting Jordan Addison
Kirk Cousins, appearing on Bleacher Report’s live draft coverage, was in the hot seat throughout the first round as many pundits predicted Minnesota to draft his replacement in the first round.
Instead, Cousins got another weapon at his disposal entering a crucial final year of his current contract — and he was thrilled.
“I think that [Addison] is a natural wide receiver,” Cousins said after the selection. “I’ve played with some guys throughout the years who were great athletes, they could run well, they could jump well, but playing the position of wide receiver just didn’t come naturally to him. And you’ll always want that natural receiver over a great athlete – not to say he isn’t a great athlete. But a guy who can attack the football with great hands, adjust to the ball well, run great routes, that’s pretty exciting to be able to get that kind of polish right away when he shows up for [Organized Team Activity practices].
“We targeted Justin a lot last year, and for good reason: He’s one of the elite receivers in football,” Cousins added. “But this should help take some pressure off of him, along with K.J. Osborn and T.J. Hockenson. The more that we can divert coverage away from Justin, that’s only going to help ‘Jets’ with his ability to wreck the game.”
Addison a Unanimous Win Among Analysts, Even With Concerns on Defense
For the analysts who project Addison to be more than just a slot receiver, much like Justin Jefferson‘s prospects coming out of college, the USC wide receiver was a home run for Minnesota, which received many A-grades for its first-round selection.
Here are several positive grades, compiled by Inside the Vikings:
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: A+
The Vikings took full advantage of Addison’s stock slipping to this part of the first round as a slot-forward replacement for Adam Thielen. Addison is an absolute route-running technician with ideal quickness and toughness for the slot. He will benefit nicely from the coverage attention Justin Jefferson gets all over the field.
Joseph Acosta, SB Nation: A
I love Jordan Addison. Despite his size and frame, he just knows how to get open. He has a nice understanding of how to create space and how to work blind spots against opposing defenders. In Minnesota, he won’t face as much attention because of some guy named Justin Jefferson, but he’s a very nice complement to Jefferson and will make that offense more efficient.
Chet Gresham, DraftKings Nation: A
The wide receiver run continues, much to the chagrin of the Giants and Chiefs. And each of these wide receiver picks gets an A from me. These were the top four receivers and all were taken at a slight discount. Addison is a perfect replacement for Adam Thielen and should be able to step into his shoes sooner than later.
The harshest critiques acknowledge the value of Addison but primarily knocked the pick due to more pressing needs of defense:
Matt Verderame, Sports Illustrated: C
The run on receivers continued in Minnesota, with the Vikings taking Addison to play opposite Justin Jefferson. While the player is terrific, Minnesota had one of the league’s worst defenses in 2022 and still has ample holes. There were terrific options in edge rusher Nolan Smith and corner Deonte Banks as well. Good player, strange pick.
Scott Dochterman, The Athletic: C
The Vikings’ offense gets more explosive with this move, but it comes at the risk of exposing an already challenged defense.