December 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver KJ Osborne. Compulsory Credit: Brace Hemelgarn – USA Today Sports.
Vikings Insider, GM’s view
In my NFL GM days, I’ve often seen players learn the NFL ropes after the most significant leap forward in 2 years and what it takes to be successful in their rookie season.
A prime example for the Vikings last year was the massive receiver, KJ Osborne. After a rookie season without any catches, with limited responsibilities as a kick returner, Osborne had a great training camp and pre-season 2 years. He achieved the third wide receiver position and brought numerous explosive plays and clutch receptions in the regular season. He was so effective that in the 2021 season the Vikings were further transferred to the three-wide receiver set.
This was due to Osborne’s rise and season-ending Irv Smith Jr.’s knee injury (both of which make crime less desirable). Osborn finished his second season with 50 receptions for 655 yards and 7 TDs.
At the Vikings OTA this week, Osborne spoke of the great progress he made last year and his excitement about the new Vikings offense under coach Kevin O’Connell, who will use three wide receivers as the main alignment (as in O’Connell’s Super Bowl last season). Offensive coordinator of champion Rams). And why not when you have one of the NFL’s top wide receiver trio between Justin Jefferson, Adam Thilen and Osborne.
“The only difference I made last year was confidence and just experience,” Osborne told me. “It had nothing to do with my body; It was in my ear. The biggest thing for me is being comfortable and confident in myself and working hard in the offseason and being determined to come here with a plan to attack.
Osborne is certainly not resting on his 2021 reputation. “I wouldn’t say I’m feeling more comfortable this year,” he said. “But I’m not really worried about a roster spot. I’m more worried about how I should run the route, how I can change things, watching different boy or opponent films throughout the entire offseason. I have bigger goals. I want to be at the level of JJ and Adam and some of the best guys in this league. To be able to help our team win a championship so that it is a constant pursuit of greatness every day. “
So it’s even more confident when Osborne enters his third season with a new offense to learn in this nine-week off-season program and training camp, an offense that demands a lot of wide receivers with “a lot of complexity”, according to offensive coordinator Wes Phillips.
“It’s very exciting, I’ve been excited since the rental,” Osborne said. “We’ve been able to have our same receiver coach (Keenan McCardel), we have a pretty tough house, what the Rams have done and seen their success and we want to do the same thing here.”
The upcoming 2022 season is even bigger than the financial outlook for Osborne because he will be eligible for a contract extension in the offseason after entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract.
There is little doubt that the Vikings offense is loaded with wide receiver skill-positioning talent, tight end, and running back along a solid quarterback. Osborn’s rise last year and how he can continue to climb in 3 years is part of his hopes of becoming one of the best offenses in the Minnesota NFL (as long as the offensive line plays reasonably well).
Vikings OTA Conversations and Observations:
1. Wes Phillips comments to the media on OTAs this week: It was interesting to compare the Vikings’ new OC cousins with quarterbacks he and O’Connell worked at Rams last year – Matthew Stafford.
“Kirk is adjusting … we’ve gotten through the word choice change and he’s doing really well,” Phillips said. “He is really into football and a really hard worker. The ability to specify things he already experienced is a huge resource for us so we can tweak one kind. It’s just that Matthew Stafford came to us to talk to a lot of experienced people who have had success in the league. “
Phillips was asked to compare two of NFL’s most productive receivers last season – Cooper Coupe who led the NFL with 1,947 yards (and 16 TDs) and Jefferson (108 catches, 1,616 yards, 10 TDS) with 145 catches.
Phillips said the two players have a lot in common beyond their great production. “They are different in some respects but both are very innate,” he said. “They both have the natural ability to separate and work. They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities. The exciting thing is that they can play all the spots so you can take them to a place where you think you will get a good matchup and they have the ability to win at all levels – deep ball at the bottom, middle and top. ”
2. It was also interesting to hear cousins talk about the learning process with the new offensive system: “I spend a lot of time studying, including working with flashcards (play calls). It’s amazing how much it has evolved since I was with Shawn McVeigh (Rams head coach who worked at O’Connell LA) five years ago. We are now laying the groundwork for 2022. Go back to the basics, take the time to learn and beautify it and always look for continuous improvement. ”
The Cousins also praised the two players for coming out of a major injury that cost them a fortune in 2021 – Arv Smith Jr. and wide receiver BC Johnson. “I’ve always had a high opinion of BC and I thought Irv was one of our most influential players at training camp last year before his injury,” said Cousin. “I expect something big from both of them in their fourth season.”
Around the NFL watch:
Aaron Rogers is making news again for the wrong reason because he is avoiding the start of the Packers OTA. Coach Matt Laughleur and QB coach Tom Clements are worried as the OTAs are volunteering, and Rogers is expected to be in the team’s compulsory minicamp on June 7-9. But in the case of free-agent signer Sammy Watkins and second-round pick Christian Watson, the new wide receivers are expected to play a key role, no doubt the coaches would like to get them $ 50 million a year in each offseason practice. Crime and started to get in sync with his new receiver. This is another example of the self-centered Rogers’ poor leadership skills.
Jeff Diamond is a former Vikings GM, former president of the Tennessee Titans and was named NFL Executive of the Year after the Vikings’ 15-1 season in 1998. He now works for the IFA, an NFL agent group based in Minneapolis, and does other sports consulting and media. Work with college / corporate speaking. Follow him and message him directly on Twitter- jeffdiamondnfl