K.J. Osborn has been receiving quite a bit of love from Vikings fans after he scored Minnesota's walk-off touchdown Sunday afternoon.
But the Week 6 game isn't the first time Osborn has flashed. Rather, the receiver has been consistently making plays for the Vikings in his second NFL season.
He has 26 receptions for 311 yards and two scores through Minnesota's first six games of 2021 after not playing an offensive snap as a rookie in 2020. He returned seven punts for 27 yards and 14 kickoffs for 303 yards. With the increased role on offense, those special teams duties have been shifted.
Dave Campbell of
The Associated Press wrote Osborn is providing a "much-needed extra dimension" for Minnesota's offense:
[Justin] Jefferson and [Adam] Thielen form one of the NFL's best pass-catching tandems, as Stefon Diggs did with Thielen in the years prior to Jefferson. They draw plenty of attention, though, with safeties often rolling toward them to try to take away Minnesota's best weapons. That's why a productive and reliable third downfield option is so important.
Campbell noted that the Vikings tabbed Osborn in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Miami.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Osborn was one of many rookies last year whose development was stunted by the COVID-19 restrictions that limited offseason activity.
This year, with a regular spring and summer of work, Osborn was one of the true standouts for the Vikings during training camp. Kansas City (1,321), the Los Angeles Rams (1,272) and Tampa Bay (1,247) are the only teams in the league with more combined receiving yardage from their top three pass catchers than the Vikings (1,246) with Jefferson, Thielen and Osborn.
Breeland INT highlighted as PFF's 'Play of the Week'
Minnesota's defense forced a season-high three turnovers at Carolina on Sunday, which no doubt helped the Vikings come away with their second consecutive walk-off win – this one in overtime.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus every week reviews the slate of recent games and highlights one "play of the week," and PFF tabbed cornerback Bashaud Breeland's interception of Sam Darnold for Week 6. Anthony Treash wrote:
Just 12 seconds removed from kicking off the ball to the Carolina Panthers to start the game, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves just outside the red zone, and they have cornerback Bashaud Breeland to thank for that.
Breeland took advantage of a mistake made by Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold on a long play and made a diving interception on the first play from scrimmage. Darnold missed a chance to actually take advantage of a Breeland slip-up that caused his man to become open, but the Vikings corner recovered and made the play of the day.
Breeland proceeded to see five more targets against Carolina, and he didn't allow a single catch en route to an 89.9 coverage grade for the game.
Treash pointed out that Breeland "kicked off the season with three concerning performances" but since then has allowed just five catches on 15 targets for 43 yards and no scores.
Breeland was one of two Vikings defenders to make Treash's "PFF Team of the Week," joining defensive tackle Armon Watts.
Watts and Steelers DT Cameron Heyward occupied the defensive interior spots, while Breeland and Bengals CB Chidobe Awuzie joined safeties Taylor Rapp (Rams) and Derwin James (Chargers) in the spotlighted secondary.
View the Vikings in "Big Head Mode" as the team defeated the Panthers in overtime of Week 6 at Bank of America Stadium.
Vikings post-bye opponent is 'different,' says Adam Schein
The Vikings will enjoy their bye this weekend but get back to work quickly for their Sunday Night Football contest against the Cowboys Oct. 31.
NFL.com's Adam Schein recently wrote about the Cowboys, who defeated the Patriots this past week to improve to 5-1:
Heading into Dallas' trip to New England, I liked the Cowboys a lot. But still, facing the greatest coach of all time (Bill Belichick) is always a daunting task – especially when the 'Boys shoot themselves in the foot with penalties, and [Head Coach] Mike McCarthy manages the game like a first-time head coach. Honestly, when Dallas followed up Trevon Diggs' pulsating, fourth-quarter pick-six by immediately yielding a 75-yard, go-ahead touchdown, I was afraid we were witnessing a "same old Cowboys" bubble burst.
But something strange happened on the way to some vintage Dallas disappointment: The Cowboys won!
I believed in this team's promise all offseason, lauding Dak Prescott's extension, hyping Ezekiel Elliott's bounce-back potential and reserving a seat on the CeeDee [Lamb] breakout bandwagon. I thought this team would be different – and it is! Dak just shredded a Bill Belichick defense, completing more than 70 percent of his throws for 445 yards and three touchdowns. Dan Quinn's defense ranks second in turnovers, thanks in large part to Diggs' amazing six-game total of seven picks. This is a well-rounded NFC power player that'll win the East by at least four games and have a fine opportunity to make a deep playoff run.
Dallas and Minnesota have the same bye week, which means both NFC teams will enter the Halloween night game feeling refreshed and ready to go.
The Vikings will have a U.S. Bank Stadium home crowd on their side, but they'll certainly have their hands full with the Cowboys.