Jordan Addison, the Vikings’ first round draft selection in 2023, is gifted with the physical abilities to play in the NFL but enhancing his likelihood of becoming a dynamic receiver is his work ethic.
Initial references to Addison typically include mentions such as his ability to get separation from defensive backs. His foot work, route running and speed, including quick bursts, have all drawn praise, but there’s more that has contributed to his achievements and recognition that include winning the 2021 Biletnikoff Award honoring him as the best receiver in college football.
Addison won the award while at Pittsburgh, before transferring to USC and playing there last fall. A football source texted Sports Headliners that while playing for Pitt, Addison showed he was a “grinder,” and described the 5-11, 173-pound Addison as a “lunch bucket guy.”
When Addison arrived in Los Angeles he found his preferred jersey number, 3, had been retired to honor former USC Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Carson Palmer. Addison promised “to work his tail off” at USC and Palmer graciously told the transfer he could wear the number.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said his franchise was attracted to Addison’s “drive to be great.” At the Friday news conference where O’Connell spoke to the media, Addison said he has wanted to play football since he was three years old, but his mom wouldn’t okay participation until he was five.
Addison made it known in the media session he’s ready to play his rookie season. What’s his thought process? “Because just my confidence and I’m willing to come in here and work every day. I’m happy coming into the building, studying extra tape and just being around the guys.”
Addison has college experience as a slot receiver and could fit there for the Vikings who need to replace the departed Adam Thielen on their wide receivers roster. Schematically and physically Addison should be a great fit for the Vikings’ already superb passing game led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receivers Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Because of his smallish size for a pro receiver Addison will probably need to get stronger in his body and hands. But with his other skills at the young age of 21, and reputation for willingness to work, the expectation is he will be up for the assignment.
It was 25 years ago this month the Vikings drafted wide receiver Randy Moss at No. 21 of the first round. Other teams knew he was talented, but character concerns made them back away from Moss who went on to a Hall of Fame career.
Zach Evans, the redshirt freshman named one of the MVPs of the Gophers’ spring game, was ranked the No. 10 running back in the nation by Rivals after his senior season in Heath, Texas where he rushed for 26 touchdowns and 1,957 yards.
Early predictions have Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota as favorites to win the Big Ten West Division this fall.
It’s fair to speculate about Dean Evason’s future as the Wild’s coach. After Friday night’s playoff loss to the Stars, Evason coached teams have lost four consecutive opening playoff series dating back to 2020, including this spring with Dallas eliminating Minnesota in six games. His decision to start goalie Marc Andre-Fleury in Game Two was a disaster, with Minnesota losing 7-3 after opening the series with a win in Dallas behind Filip Gustavsson.
Evason changed up his lines Friday night to spark more scoring but the Wild produced just one goal after being shut out in Game 5. The Wild, trailing 1-0 after the first period Friday, were inexplicably flat in the second period as Dallas took a 3-0 lead into intermission. And Evason will tell you he wasn’t satisfied with the play of his special teams in the series.
Wild GM Bill Guerin isn’t the most patient of leaders and fans may wonder if sooner or later he might be tempted to change coaches in an effort to get a franchise that hasn’t advanced beyond the first round since 2015 to go deeper into the playoffs. This is the second consecutive year the Wild led 2-1 in a best of seven series only to lose, with the Blues being the nemesis in 2022.
Evason is an intense leader, and a solid coach, and a change might not be fair to him, but when expectations aren’t met for a long time shake ups can happen.
Don’t be too sure the Timberwolves can’t find a trade partner for controversial center Rudy Gobert. The Mavericks, for example, need rebounding and interior defense to complement high-scoring guards Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
MLB teams are now allowed to have jersey sponsors, but most clubs still don’t have deals including the Twins. It will require big money for any sponsors to have their patches on uniforms.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand, the former Twins prospect who was sent to the Reds last August as part of a deal to acquire pitcher Tyler Mahle, is hitting .464 in 28 at bats for AAA Louisville. The 23-year-old third baseman-first baseman turned heads with his .577 batting average in spring training.
Yennier Cano, the ex-Twins pitching prospect sent to the Orioles last year as part of the transaction to acquire Jorge Lopez, has yet to allow a hit in 9.2 innings after being recalled from Norfolk April 14. Now 29, Cano signed with the Twins at 25 and made a name for himself in Cuba.
Long time Twin Cities newspaper columnist Patrick Reusse celebrated 42 years of sobriety April 27. “There was no risk to my job or anything like that,” Reusse told Sports Headliners years ago about the decision to enter recovery for alcoholism. “I got sick of being hung over. I was single, (and) my first wife had divorced me in ‘79. I was running around with a younger crowd and acting goofy. …”
The annual Twin Cities Dunkers Fund dinner and auction is Tuesday night at Interlachen Country Club. The fund assists the under financed athletic programs of the Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. Last year’s event raised $161,350 and since 2011 has generated $1,107,588.
Jon Cherney, executive director of the Herb Brooks Foundation for five years, is leaving the organization.3 comments