Jordan Addison already faced a steep challenge for his rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings, carrying the expectations of a first-round pick into a complex offense after an injury kept the wide receiver off the field for most of the spring practices.
Then he got pulled over for going 140 mph in his sports car last week, adding to his burden of proof that he was worth the draft capital and up to the task.
“I was disappointed, but it was a mistake, and I think he’s obviously owning that mistake and knows that’s something that can’t happen again,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said.
Addison issued a statement through the Vikings the day after he was cited for driving 85 mph over the speed limit on an urban stretch of interstate highway in the middle of the night.
Addressing reporters Wednesday for the first time since the incident, Addison redoubled his expression of regret and responsibility and vowed to never engage in such a dangerous activity again.
“I used poor judgment, and I made a really poor decision that I’ll definitely learn from,” Addison said before the team’s first practice of training camp.
Addison told the state trooper who stopped him that he was speeding because his dog was experiencing an emergency at his home, according to the citation. Asked to elaborate, Addison declined, citing the ongoing legal process.
O’Connell and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah both had stern conversations last week with Addison, who was selected out of USC with the 23rd overall pick to fill the void created by the cost-cutting release of veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen.
“You know it’s never a good thing when KOC or Kwesi have got to answer questions or address questions about me off the field,” Addison said, “so I just want to apologize to everyone for that.”
Adofo-Mensah said Addison’s representatives and relatives contacted him with assurance that the 21-year-old would not be a repeat offender.
“This kid was raised right. He knows that what he made was a mistake, and everybody in his life is aligned to make sure that this is a one-time occurrence,” Adofo-Mensah said.
Both Adofo-Mensah and Addison declined to comment about any team-issued punishment.
“I’m just blessed to be out here on the field, being able to be here with my team,” Addison said. “They showed a lot of support as I came back in as well, so right now I’m just trying to make sure that I’m in a good headspace to keep working and keep getting better at my craft.”
Learning from superstar Justin Jefferson is a good place to start.
“We’re with him every step of the way,” Jefferson said. “Just like when I came in, Adam was there that first week and took me under his wing and showed me the ropes and taught me how to be a professional. That’s that role that I’m planning for him.”
Addison declined to reveal the nature of the injury that kept him out in May and June, but he practiced Wednesday without limitation. With Addison taking turns with the first team, safety Lewis Cine at full speed after his remarkable recovery from a broken leg and right tackle Brian O’Neill avoiding the physically unable to perform list following his Achilles tendon injury late last season, the Vikings started camp in near-pristine condition.
Rookie outside linebacker Andre Carter was placed on the PUP list, and backup offensive lineman Chris Reed went on the non-football injury list. Both injuries are minor, O’Connell said.
As for how significant of a role that Addison will wind up with in the offense, well, that’s all on him.
“With that first group, we’re going to be moving pretty quickly. That’s their expectation. That’s what they want,” O’Connell said. “We’ll give him opportunities every single day to be in the huddle with that group, and then it’s just a kind of a daily awareness of where he’s at.”
Reporting by The Associated Press.
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more