Vikings Rookie Makes Strong Statement on Replacing Adam Thielen

Jordan Addison

Courtesy of Vikings Vikings first-round pick Jordan Addison said he's up to the task of filling Adam Thielen's shoes in Minnesota.

Regardless of how the Minnesota Vikings frame it, rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison will be viewed as the de-facto replacement to longtime franchise favorite Adam Thielen.

Selected 22nd overall in the draft, Addison’s arrival came after the Vikings released Thielen to offload his $20 million cap hit for the upcoming season. Thielen, 33,  has lost a step from his Pro Bowl days but still landed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Carolina Panthers after his release.

Appearing on “NFL Total Access” on June 22, the question of “replacing” Thielen surfaced. Addison admitted he hasn’t been fueled by narrative but also didn’t step down from the challenge.

“I ain’t going to get into it too much, comparing,” Addison said when asked whether he sees himself as a more dynamic receiver than Thielen. “I just know what I can do. I’m confident, and I am going to fill his shoes.”

Jordan Addison, Adam Thielen’s Similar Skillsets

While Addison didn’t want to focus on the comparisons to Thielen, it is inevitable as a first-round selection a month after Thielen’s departure.

Although Thielen is bigger and had more top-end speed in his prime, Addison’s polished route tree will give him the ability to step in and be as diverse of a route runner as Thielen.

Addison won the Biletnikoff Trophy primarily as a slot receiver at Pitt in 2021 but evolved his game his senior season at USC, seeing 63% of his targets when lined up outside, according to The 33rd Team.

Although Addison lacks the size and speed to be a go-route, deep-ball threat, he excels at maintaining the same speed coming in and out of his breaks. That should bode well against non-premier corners that he should face with the attention Justin Jefferson garners.

The two routes he was most effective running at USC were the corner and post routes, which the Vikings deployed more often than the league average.

“Addison’s addition means the team has even more options to move the ball downfield effectively,” The 33rd Team’s Jordan Vanek wrote. “Addison’s college experience as a successful route runner on these two routes bodes well for him to become a deep-threat player in the Vikings’ offense.”

Addison has already proved he can win in the slot and his ability to win deep last season at USC shows that teams will have to respect his side of the field at all three levels.

“Addison played in the slot and out wide during his college years. This bodes well for how the O’Connell system will utilize him, and it gives the Vikings a player that can win effectively on these routes that require you not to lose speed in and out of breaks,” Vanek wrote. “Jefferson gets a player that allows him to work more freely and possibly avoid double coverage.”

Jordan Addison Expected to Be a Full Go at Training Camp After Undisclosed Injury

Addison was dealing with an undisclosed injury through minicamps but is expected to be a full go come training camp in July, according to head coach Kevin O’Connell.

“We’ve had a plan in place for him and continuing to kind of build up to where he’ll be,” O’Connell said in June 13 media conference. “He’ll be spending quite a bit of time continuing his playbook. He’s been phenomenal in meetings and out here asking great questions when they come up.

“But my expectation is that Jordan will be full when we get going in late July.”

While Addison wasn’t running as many drills as fans would like to see during spring minicamps, he’s spent the time studying Justin Jefferson on the field.

“Oh, man, it’s just been all learning for me, not too much talking,” he said. “Just out there on the field watching what he do and just trying to pick his brain to see why he wants to run his routes the way he do,” Addison told “NFL Total Access.”

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