The Minnesota Vikings took Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He wasn’t the starting wide receiver that year, but he stepped up to be arguably the best in the game. Minnesota picked Jordan Addison three years later, but what parallels do they have?
Are there powerful parallels between Addison and Jefferson?
Let’s get this out of the way first… It’s a stretch to assume that Justin Jefferson is a surefire Hall of Fame talent early in his career. It might be just as lofty to expect Jordan Addison to live up to the Vikings’ star profile this early. Both were picked in the first round, and with only one point separating the two, there are parallels to explore.
Justin Jefferson started for the Vikings and was expected to fill the vacancy left by Stefon Diggs. As a direct result of that trade with the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota needed someone to step up next to Adam Thielen. Now with Thielen in Carolina, the Vikings grabbed Addison to fill the void the Minnesota native has aging.
So entering the NFL like Jefferson did before him, what does Addison bring to the table? Unlike the former LSU Tigers product, Addison transferred to USC after spending two years in Pittsburgh. He was used more in the backcourt for the Panthers, but really exploded as a threat working with Caleb Williams at USC.
Jefferson’s best season in college was his junior year, where he turned 111 receptions into 1,540 yards. Addison surpassed that number as a sophomore with Pitt, passing for 1,593 yards on 100 receptions. Addison missed some time last year, playing in just 11 of the Trojans’ 14 games, but his 875 yards came on just 59 receptions and he continued to be a monster.
Having won the Biletnikoff Award with Pitt before transferring, Addison had already made a splash when joining USC. He’s not the same type of wide receiver as Jefferson, but he might consider himself just as talented. Addison is a bit of a size concern as he is not a big body, but he has shown the ability to battle opposing defenders and win the ball over the top.
Ultimately, it will be a bit of a wait-and-see approach as to how Addison fares at the next level. It took former head coach Mike Zimmer a few games to work Jefferson into the starting lineup, but that certainly won’t be the case for Addison. Kevin O’Connell knows his offense needs a true number two wideout, and Addison has been driven to match.
Kirk Cousins immediately allows Addison to develop a bond with an established quarterback. The Vikings using Jefferson, Addison and Hawkenson in the passing game should give them a very tough time dealing with the three-headed monster. How far the former Trojan standout can take his game out of the gate remains to be seen, but it should be a fun show to watch.
Ted Schwertzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities focused on the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He is active Twitter: and writes a weekly number Twins Daily:. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our professional teams with passion has always felt like such a natural fit.