MINNEAPOLIS — On a bright day in April, Jordan Addison walked into the Minnesota Vikings‘ practice facility and up to coach Kevin O’Connell’s office. A projected first-round draft pick from USC, Addison was about to find out just how smitten O’Connell was with the idea of adding him to the Vikings’ stable of wide receivers.
In the kind of promise that otherwise would have seemed typical NFL draft talk, O’Connell earnestly described how effective he thought Addison would be in the team’s offensive scheme. He made clear that he considered Addison a starter on Day 1 and then sent him on his way. The next time they spoke, after the Vikings had made Addison the No. 23 overall pick, O’Connell told Addison: “You and Justin Jefferson breaking the huddle at the same time is a problem,” according to video of the call posted by the team.
Those conversations feel especially relevant after Addison’s breakout performance Monday night in the Vikings’ 22-17 upset of the San Francisco 49ers. With Jefferson sidelined by a strained hamstring, Addison produced the first 100-yard game of his career while catching two touchdown passes and nearly grabbing a third.
The surge pushed the start of his career into the annals of league history. Addison, who now has 29 catches for 400 and six touchdowns, is one of only four receivers in the past 40 years to record 400 or more receiving yards and catch at least six touchdown passes in his first seven games, according to ESPN Stats & Information — joining Ja’Marr Chase, Marques Colston and Randy Moss.
Jefferson must sit out two more games before he is eligible to return from injured reserve, but when he does, he’ll enter a new world with a dynamic teammate who is emerging as a genuine threat against single coverage and other schematic mismatches. And when you add the looming reunion between Jefferson and Addison, consider the team’s 3-1 surge over the past month and take into account the NFL’s sixth-easiest schedule the rest of the way, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), you find a compelling argument for the Vikings to be a factor in the playoff race down the stretch.
“Jordan has been everything that I hoped for from the moment I cut on the tape of his time in college,” O’Connell said. “But he’s been more than that. He’s been really taking on a role within our team, within our offense. He’s earned an incredible amount of trust from Kirk [Cousins] and the rest of our guys.”
Indeed, shortly after Jefferson’s injury, Cousins made a point to declare Addison the “real deal,” as well as to compliment a Vikings leadership group that “hit on that draft pick.” In the two games since Jefferson was injured, Cousins has targeted Addison on 15 passes, resulting in 10 receptions and a total of three touchdowns. The only NFL player with more touchdown receptions this season is the Miami Dolphins‘ Tyreek Hill, who has seven. Monday night’s game began auspiciously enough. Addison misplayed a short Cousins throw on the team’s third play from scrimmage, allowing 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward to intercept Cousins.
“Good job by the defender,” Addison said, “but after that play all I was thinking was I have to kill the rest of the game.”
And that he did. Addison first capitalized on a mismatch to get behind 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw for a 20-yard score. Then in the second quarter, he atoned for the earlier misplay by snatching the ball away from Ward en route to a 60-yard touchdown.
“He wasn’t going to get it twice,” Addison said. “I needed all of that back.”
Addison has proved a man of few words since joining the Vikings, belying the stereotypical flamboyance of the position. In training camp, Jefferson encouraged him to “talk more and dance more.” But with his typical seriousness, Addison said: “I want people to see that I can make plays before I start jumping around.”
Monday night, Addison dropped the Michael Jordan shrug after catching his second touchdown but otherwise needed to conserve his energy. He dealt with cramps in the second half, although he returned after receiving an IV to catch a 13-yard pass on third down that helped keep a clock-consuming drive alive.
Cousins set out his own expectations this summer, saying he needed to see Addison — or any rookie receiver — make contested catches in order to earn his trust. If there were any doubt before, Addison’s performance Monday night settled that discussion.
“This game is going to punch you in the gut and you’re going to have things that don’t go your way,” Cousins said. “That turnover was tough, and you have to play through it. … So we were able to do that tonight, and clearly the way Jordan responded, he had a couple tough catches in traffic. The [second touchdown] very easily could have been an interception, and the other one the safety was driving. You could tell he made a decision that that’s not happening again, and it reflected in the way he played.”
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay and his wife, Veronika, welcomed their first child on Tuesday, a son named Jordan John McVay.
Veronika and Jordan are doing well, McVay said on Wednesday.”Everybody kind of tells you what to expect, and it couldn’t even be as good as everybody says,” McVay said. “And they certainly talked about what a special moment it was. Just amazing how well my wife handled it and what a stud she was throughout that whole process, and even yesterday. The people were amazing in terms of the nurses and the doctors, and their help.
“So he’s here, he’s healthy, he’s feeling good. And what a blessing it is.”
McVay said he hasn’t gotten any sleep, but joked, “it’s a good adrenaline.”
“But at some point it’s going to hit me,” McVay said. “And I’d like to think I can push through but I don’t have the stamina that I used to.”
Jordan’s middle name, McVay said, is John, after McVay’s late grandfather, former San Francisco 49ers executive John McVay. Sean McVay said Jordan’s original due date was Oct. 31, the date his grandfather died in 2022.
“And if you don’t believe in a higher power, there’s certain things that occur that, man, you just realize there’s something special going on,” McVay said. “I come from a family of faith, I’m a man of faith. The influence that you guys know my grandfather had on me — but also our family, he had a special relationship with Veronika as well — and so thought that was only appropriate to be able to name him, have his middle name after my grandfather.
“His legacy he lives on and I know he’s looking down, smiling with what occurred yesterday.”
Source : ESPN