EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings added a versatile athlete in Miami wide receiver K.J. Osborn in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Osborn, whom Minnesota drafted from the 176th overall spot last weekend, started all 13 games he played for the Hurricanes last season. He led the team in receiving with 50 catches for 547 and five touchdowns.
Osborn became the 16th Miami player drafted by the Vikings in franchise history. Other notable Hurricanes to suit up for Minnesota include Ring of Honor running back Chuck Foreman (12th overall in 1973), cornerback John Swain (101st overall in 1981) and tackle Bryant McKinnie (7th overall in 2002).
Here are five things to know about Osborn:
1. Special teams could be specialty
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman explained after selecting Osborn that he could possibly contribute immediately on special teams.
For the Hurricanes, Osborn returned 16 punts for 255 yards (15.9 average) and 10 kickoffs for 201 yards (20.1 average).
"[He's] a slot-type receiver. I know when our coaches evaluated him, they thought he could continue to improve as a receiver, but his value is going to come as a potential punt returner for us," Spielman said via video conference. "We think he has a legitimate [shot at] winning the punt return and the kick return job with his explosive speed and power."
The Vikings did not have a cut-and-dried punt returner in 2019. The position was most-recently held by Marcus Sherels, who locked down the role from 2011-18. After signing with and being released by the Saints during the 2019 offseason, Sherels was re-signed by the Vikings two separate times last season.
2. Playing for a ring(tone)
You know that recognizable string of notes that plays during the NFL Draft when a team submits its pick?
Yeah, so does Osborn. He knows the tune by heart, having made it his ring tone after transferring to Miami for the 2019 season.
Osborn wanted to keep a reminder of his career dreams close.
3. Strength and speed
After some questions were raised about Osborn's speed, the 203-pound receiver quieted criticism at the NFL Scouting Combine with a respectable time of 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also ranked fifth-fastest among receivers in the 3-cone drill, clocking in at 7 seconds flat.
"Everybody wanted to see me run, so I wanted to go out there and prove that," Osborn said. "I worked really hard just to be able to show that on the biggest stage, and I was able to do it, so I also have got to give the biggest shout-out to my trainer, Mo Wells. I feel like he's the best in the business, so I was able to do that."
Osborn showed his strength, as well; his 18 reps of 225 at the bench press ranked sixth in his position group.
4. Academic honors
While Osborn continued to hone his craft on the Miami football team, he also showed commitment in the classroom.
According to The Miami Herald Hurricanes beat writer Susan Miller Degnan, Osborn was just one off 24 players in the ACC who were named to the "prestigious Hampshire Honor Society by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame."
Students named to the honor society maintained a minimum GPA requirement of 3.2 throughout their college career.
Osborn is currently pursuing his Master's degree in criminal justice, a career field he's passionate about outside of football.
"I want to be the guy going in there helping save lives and protect the president and protect the country," said Osborn, who ultimately hopes to work for the FBI or Secret Service.
View images of Vikings 5th round pick WR K.J. Osborn.
5. Early start to the game
Osborn grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where his uncle, Sean Williams, worked as an assistant football coach at Lincoln High School.
At 10 years old, Osborn attended a Lincoln football practice and asked Williams and the other coaches if he could be a ball boy. It was through that experience that he fell in love with the sport.
"I loved it," Osborn said in 2018. "I bussed with them to their away games, and I was always around them, just building that pride and that family, and it still is a family to me."