“Whoever lines up in front of me, I’ve got to make sure I win that matchup,” he said. “That’s how I look at it. It’s simple. Just beat the guy in front of me.”
And that’s exactly what he did.
Though the Vikings couldn’t get the job done in a 34-28 loss to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, it wasn’t for a lack of effort on Addison’s part. He finished with three receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown, proving once again to be a deep threat for quarterback Kirk Cousins.
After getting loose for a 39-yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener, Addison followed it up with a 62-yard touchdown catch against the Eagles. His ability to get behind the defense with his explosiveness on both occasions is what stood out to head coach Kevin O’Connell.
“Just continues to show up,” O’Connell said. “He’s growing every single time he steps on the grass in our offense.”
That growth has impressed Cousins, too, as has the way Addison refuses to be denied in space.
The scoring play from Thursday’s game was a perfect example of that as Addison cooked his defender on a backside post, tracked down the ball in the air, then shook off a tackle on his way into the end zone. That effort ensured that the Vikings scored a touchdown instead of potentially having to settle for a field goal — or worse, no points at all.
“That was the first thing I said to him when he came off the field,” Cousins said. “I put my arm around him and I said, ‘The finish is what I love.’ ”
The play design on that touchdown from Addison was a thing of beauty. Allow the mastermind to explain.
“We’ve run that concept before front side where we are really simulating that we’re going to throw a quick screen out there trying to get the defense to engage,” O’Connell said while noting that star receiver Justin Jefferson often attracts a double team and sometimes even a triple team to free up the other receivers. “So putting Jordan on the backside allowed Kirk to kind of simulate that to see if we can get defenders to engage.”
It worked like a charm as Jefferson magnetized a couple of defenders on the quick screen, while tight end T.J. Hockenson got some attention on a seam route. That left Addison singled up with Eagles cornerback Josh Jobe on the backside, and he lost him downfield with a subtle move in space.
The fact that Addison was able to create so much separation didn’t surprise Cousins.
“You watch his tape from college, he’s catching post routes for Pitt, he’s catching post routes for USC,” Cousins said. “He’s got at it. When he first got here, I told him I watched his tape and that was what I saw, and he said, ‘That’s my favorite route.’ He’s a very natural receiver, and that’s going to show up in the way he runs routes, the way he catches the football and the way he makes plays.”