KJ Osborn Gives Vikings Offensive a Much Needed Extra Dimension – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kirk Cousins ​​rolls to the right for third place in overtime in a game the Minnesota Vikings should have won, while Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are defended.

KJ Osborn was open on a crossing route, so Cousins ​​had a tough shot at running and balancing. Osborn provided a substantial catch for 13 yards, despite being slightly behind the ball and dangerously close to the Carolina corner player.

READ MORE: Vikings CB Patrick Peterson Plays At Least 3 After Injuring Hamstring

Four games later, Osborn was diving into the front corner of the end zone to win the game. Finally, in his fourth season with the Vikings, Cousins ​​has a valid #3 wide receiver to go.

“He did everything right. Cousins, after the 34-28 win against the Panthers on Sunday and the match that equalized the Vikings’ (3-3) farewell, I’m happy that this is now showing up in the games and showing up a lot in times of crisis as well,” he said. week.

Osborn was clearly not the primary choice for the Cousins ​​in the third and 3rd game from Minnesota 43. Nor was he the first to read about the winner. Nor was he the first to win with a 27-yard score, which he used to beat the safety in a corner. one-on-one coverage.

“When playing under Adam and Justin, I learned and taught myself to wait for the ball in every game. It doesn’t matter what the call to play is,” said Osborn, who had six 78-yard receptions on seven goals against the Panthers.

KJ Osborn (credit: Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Jefferson and Thielen form one of the NFL’s best passing duos, as Stefon Diggs did with Thielen in the years before Jefferson. Still, they get a lot of attention with their safety guards turning towards them to try and take away Minnesota’s best guns. That’s why a productive and reliable third subfield option is so important.

“I’m so lucky to be able to play with these guys. Justin is even younger and they teach me a lot just by their behavior and how they play the game,” Osborn said.

Osborn was drafted in the fifth round from Miami last season and finished college on a transfer from Buffalo. Chosen primarily for his ability to return kicks and punts, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Osborn was one of many rookies whose development was stunted last year due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting off-season activity.

This year, with a regular spring and summer run, Osborn was one of the real highlights for the Vikings during training camp. Kansas City (1,321), Los Angeles Rams (1,272) and Tampa Bay (1,247) are the only teams to have more total field yards than the top three pass catchers than the Vikings (1,246) of Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn.

“You can hide behind those guys. They get a lot of contact, but KJ is so obvious sometimes, you have to give him the ball,” said Dalvin Cook, running.

WHAT WORKS

The offensive line had its best performance of the season. The Cousins ​​weren’t sacked, Cook rushed for 140 yards in 11 games and the Vikings finished with 571 yards – albeit with extra games in overtime – for the third-highest single-game total in team history. All this against a defense, sacks per pass, and the third lowest percentage of down conversions in the NFL with the fewest yards allowed.

“We went out there and dominated the whole day,” said rookie Christian Darrisaw on the left.

READ MORE: Coach Mike Zimmer Wants Vikings To Find A ‘Killer Instinct’

WHO NEEDS HELP

Special team units again leaves much to be desired. The Vikings gave up a punt block for a goal in the third quarter. Punt return Dede Westbrook netted just 7 yards in three tries, once the Vikings rallied and also managed a fair catch.

STOCK

Darrisaw made his career debut at 89 frames at the Carolinas after rotating in his previous game against Rashod Hill and kept Panthers front-runner Brian Burns in check. After needing his second inguinal surgery of the year during training camp, Darrisaw finally took on the vital role for which he was drafted.

“I don’t feel anything from the injury. I’ve fully recovered 100% and the worst days are over,” said Darrisaw. “I feel great.”

STOCK DOWN

Greg Joseph missed field goals from 50 and 47 yards in the fourth quarter after making 54 yards in the final game to beat Detroit the previous week. 13 out of 17 in field goals this season.

INJURY REPORT

The Vikings are perfectly healthy when they say goodbye, but their only concern is big. Cornerback Patrick Peterson was in the injured reserve Monday after injuring his hamstring against the Panthers in the late fourth quarter. Coach Mike Zimmer said Michael Pierce, who missed his second game in a row with an elbow injury, is on the way for a farewell return after a defensive kick.

KEY NUMBER

29.2 — league-low conversion percentage allowed by defense in third innings. The Vikings had top marks in the NFL in 2017 and 2018 before dropping in that field over the past two years.

NEXT STEPS

The next four opponents have a combined record of 19-5, starting with a home night game against Dallas on October 31st. Then the Vikings visit Baltimore and the Los Angeles Chargers before hosting Green Bay on November 21.

MORE NEWS: Cousins ​​Assigns TD Pass to Osborn in Overtime; Vikes Panthers Beat 34-28

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