Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Young Vikings receiver KJ Osborne emerges as playwright on offense

Vikings receiver KJ Osborne spent a season at the University of Miami and quickly learned to never run out of bounds after taking a catch. as always.

Osborne explained, the coaching staff called it a “poodle” if someone did it without getting hit, and it resulted in pushing a weighted plate in practice the next day. This encouraged players to fight for extra yards no matter where they were on the field.

“We’ve always been in boundary or taken a hit,” said Osborne, who played college ball for three years at Buffalo before relocating to Miami for the final season. “It was just practicing good habits and being able to break a tackle and go down first.”

And that lesson paid off for Osborne in Sunday’s Vikings season opener in Cincinnati.

With the Vikings struggling to commit anything on offense – penalties were largely responsible for a lack of firepower – Osborne, 24, a 2020 fifth-round draft pick in the team with an incredible effort during the second quarter Woke up

After catching a pass at third-and-long from quarterback Kirk Cousins, Osborne broke a tackle, tipped along the edge, then interrupted All-Pro safety Jesse Bates to take down first. On third and 24, Osborne covered 25 yards to keep the drive alive. After a few plays, Cousins ​​found fellow receiver Adam Thielen for the first touchdown of the game.

“It felt amazing,” Osborne said. “I was able to make a good game for my team, so it was exciting, and it led to touchdowns.”

It was the start of an impressive day for Osborne. He finished the day with seven catches for 76 yards, including a big conversion on the third down and, more important for the Vikings, a big conversion on the fourth down let.

While the play along the edge was perhaps more deserving of a highlight-reel, Osborne’s grip on the final drive of regulation was far more clutch. He stood in the slot on fourth and four, open the middle and took a bullet pass from Cousins ​​to move the chains. After a few plays, kicker Greg Joseph scored a 53-yard field goal after being forced to overtime after time ran out.

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“I thought his catch in fourth place was elite,” said Cousins. “The ball was thrown hard, and he’s in a lot of traffic, and he took a tremendous catch. As quarterbacks, that’s the kind of play we see him make, it gives us a lot of confidence that We can bowl there. That’s just one example that comes to mind. He’s going to help us throughout the season.”

Asked about the play, Osborne said that he recognized he had man-to-man coverage against cornerback Mike Hilton, and believed he had beaten him shortly before the game.

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“Safety came down (Jefferson), so it was my turn to make a play,” Osborne said. “It was cool that I was able to execute it at a really important time.”

Osborne’s emergence could make the Vikings more explosive this season. Although Osborne has glimpsed this type of play throughout training camp, coach Mike Zimmer said it carries too much weight in an actual game.

“I think he played well,” Zimmer said. “He’ll keep improving. I think he’s done a good job. But getting some game action, and some plays in a game, I think will help him.

For Osborne, his performance was particularly rewarding, considering how hard he worked this off-season.

“I started training back in February,” he said. “I knew I wanted to help the team win in any way I could. I knew I wanted to pursue my role on offense, so all off-season I was trying to get better at my craft Was working with people, asking questions, watching movies. It’s good that some of that is starting to pay off. Hope it keeps going.”

Young Vikings receiver KJ Osborne emerges as playwright on offense
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