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Jordan Addison & Draft Classmates Welcome 1st Steps in Vikings Jerseys for Rookie Minicamp

EAGAN, Minn. – Jordan Addison turned in his suave pink suit from draft night for a purple practice jersey.

The Vikings first-round draft pick hit the field for rookie minicamp Thursday and afterward talked to media. As exciting as the NFL Draft process was, Addison is glad to be off the stage and back on the green grass.

"It feels super real. Got the helmet on and just out here having fun," Addison said.

"I'm just excited to put the equipment on and just play – and not do all the … process I had to do to get here," he later added. "Now it's just a little bit more relaxing because I get to do what I do best, which is playing football."

Addison was joined Friday at minicamp by Minnesota's other five draft picks, 15 undrafted free agents and an additional 21 players invited to Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center on a tryout basis.

To borrow an oft-used term from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, the young players are drinking from a firehose this weekend – being hit with tremendous amounts of new information and attempting to absorb as much as possible.

Addison noted that football will "always feel natural" to him, but he's well-aware of the jump from college to the pros and wants to do all he can to be prepared.

"It's a lot different mentally, just going in the huddle and having to process a lot," he said. "Once I step up there without the rookies, it's going to be a little bit faster. So I'm just trying to make sure I sharpen everything up right now."

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said Addison was "a little bit ahead" of his peers at practice, after meeting via videoconference – "obviously within the confines of the rules" – since being drafted.

"Where he's lining up, understanding exactly what that play means for what routes he has and how to go adjust once the picture changes when that ball's snapped," O'Connell said. "But what I was really looking forward to just seeing is how he was moving – coming in and out of cuts and breaks and then attacking the football when it was in the air.

"I thought Jordan had a really, really good day and just looks and feels the part, which is exactly what I expected out of him," O'Connell added. "And he's been champing at the bit to get going."

After rookies arrived at TCO Performance Center Thursday evening, Addison made sure to spend some solo time with his new playbook.

"It's a lot. I'm not gonna lie. It is a lot, but you've just gotta put the time in. When you put your time in on your own, outside of the building, it's going to come a lot faster," Addison said. "I was studying last night when they first gave us the stuff. So when I came in, I had extra time when we got in the meeting to write the plays down and look over it. I feel like I'm pretty good right now."

Former BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, whom the Vikings drafted in the fifth round, also told reporters he's been "diving into" the playbook a little bit each day since receiving the call from Minnesota.

"There's a lot of formations and motions and things, and that's where you start, from the ground up the first week, and got into some concepts last week," Hall said. "Now we'll just run with it and put it all together.

"I think the sooner you can get through your reads, understanding what's a prime look, what coverage gives you what routes and what routes you can eliminate – I think that's the best way a quarterback can play football fast," Hall explained.

Addison said Hall has a "soft touch" on the football, and the two enjoyed putting in work together on day one.

Both are reminded by O'Connell that the goal of rookie minicamp is to improve a little each day.

"It's the first day. I think it can get a lot better," Hall said. "It will be a lot better tomorrow. That's always the hope for the next day, no matter what.

"I never get complacent, so for me, tonight, it's going over the film, working on some extra things on my own, and then tomorrow morning, being a little better," he added.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive backs Jay Ward and Mekhi Blackmon expressed similar sentiments.

Ward described the surreal feeling of stepping onto an NFL practice field.

"It was a cool experience because you dream of this moment since you were a child," the former LSU safety said. "With the draft being two weeks ago, finally knowing what team I was coming to and competing with is just a dream come true."

Blackmon, whom the Vikings drafted out of USC in the third round, said it's a "real honor" to be starting his NFL journey in Minnesota.

"It's eye-opening, but I've just been trying to take it lightly," he said. "Don't get too high about the situation. You've still got to come out here and compete, so that's how I've been staying level with it."

Blackmon also has the added bonus of reconnecting with Addison, whom he teamed with last season at Southern California.

"I've got somebody to lean on, and he's got somebody to lean on," Blackmon said. "Being around each other when we were in physicals yesterday, I went with him in ever rep today, so just staying around each other is going to help us."

The Vikings rookies know they've got plenty of work to do, and this weekend offers the opportunity to get their feet wet and learn as much as they can. They're also all looking forward to working with the veteran players beginning Monday.

Addison already is feeling positive about his potential in the Vikings offense and what he brings to the table.

"It's looking good – when I'm looking at the playbook and where I'm going to be and just all the routes that are in it and the great pieces we've got in the offense," Addison said. "Right now, I'm just really excited, but I'm going to stay humble, I'm going to keep working, and then when it's my time to shine, I'm gonna make sure I shine."