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Lunchbreak: CBS Sports Draws Path-to-NFL Comparisons Between Beebe, Thielen

Just over a year since signing with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent, Chad Beebe is hoping to stay healthy and play a larger role for the team in 2019.

The receiver has been praised by coaches and teammates alike, and he has drawn some attention from media members outside of the building, including CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin.

He recently highlighted Beebe’s performance in the Vikings Saturday night training camp practice, during which Beebe took WR3 reps with the first team and “was the lead punt returner” during special teams drills. Benjamin wrote:

Most of the hype behind Beebe’s emergence from anonymity, however, centers on how closely his uphill battle mirrors that of another, better-known Vikings wide receiver – a guy named Adam Thielen.

Physically speaking, the two aren't really comparable, with Thielen edging Beebe by four inches and almost 20 pounds. But before he went big time and earned big money as the team’s most productive receiver since Randy Moss, Thielen famously followed a similar script. He went undrafted out of a small Midwestern school. He was a virtual non-factor as a rookie. He was an unknown at the time of his first notable role. And then, inexplicably, he just couldn't stop getting open.

_Beebe says there’s “no doubt” a comparison to be made and calls Thielen “a guy that I look up to,” but he’s quick to acknowledge he’s got plenty to prove. If he’s going to be the next Adam Thielen, he’s got to make sure he can deliver a reliable Chad Beebe. _

Benjamin quoted Beebe, who calls his Christian faith the “foundation of his perseverance.”

“It hasn't been always the easiest road,” Beebe told Benjamin, “but I just kept hanging on to my faith in the Lord, and He’s brought me a long way ... That’s the biggest thing in my life, and I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that, and so, for me not to tell people about that, I’d be crazy. I hold that dear to my heart.”

Passion, of course, is one thing. Performing on Sundays is another. But Beebe’s certainly saying and doing all the right things until then.

[…]

After visiting Cousins at the quarterback's home in Michigan for several summer bonding and throwing sessions, he’s “very, very confident” the man throwing him passes has what it takes to win it all.

“He’s a great guy, first of all,” Beebe told Benjamin. “And secondly, a great quarterback. Great pocket passer, all those things. Very smart. And he can lead our team to a championship, there’s no doubt.”

Smith ranked NFL’s 2*nd*-best safety by PFF

Harrison Smith is rolling into his eighth NFL season.

The All-Pro safety garners plenty of respect around the league on an annual basis, and he recently was highlighted by Pro Football Focus. The analytics site ranked Smith the NFL’s second-best safety and wrote the following:

Among the 70 NFL safeties with 2,000-plus defensive snaps played in the last five years (2014-18), only Earl Thomas (93.6) has earned a higher overall grade than Smith (92.6). The Vikings standout also ranks first in run-defense grade (96.4) and fourth in coverage grade (93.6) among the same group of qualifiers.

Behind Thomas and Smith on PFF’s list were Derwin James (Chargers), Kevin Byard (Titans), Eddie Jackson (Bears), Jamal Adams (Jets), Eric Weddle (Rams), Devin McCourty (Patriots), Adrian Amos (Packers) and Micah Hyde (Bills).

Amos spent the first four seasons of his pro career with Chicago before signing with an NFC North rival. The Vikings will face Amos with the Packers in Week 2 and again in Week 16.

While his 12 combined interceptions and pass breakups over the past two seasons wouldn’t give the impression of an elite safety, Amos has been one of the league’s premier players at the position over recent seasons. His overall grade over the past three years falls into the elite category at 90.6, and it ranks third among all safeties with at least 1,000 snaps since 2016.

Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo ‘on a mission’ to make roster

After spending the past two seasons on Minnesota’s practice squad (with a stint in between in Arizona and Cleveland), defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo is “on a mission” to make the Vikings 53-man roster this time around.

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press spoke with Odenigbo, who told his younger brother Tito, whom the Vikings signed as an undrafted free agent this spring, that “he’s all business” during Verizon Vikings Training Camp.

“I’ve been pretty honest in informing him that the most time we’ll hang out was probably in the offseason,” Odenigbo told Tomasson. “At the end of the day, I’m going into my third year, and I’m trying to make this darn team.”

Odenigbo told Tomasson that there’s a sense of urgency now that his “window is starting to close.” 

“I understand that when you’re going into your third year, you want to be established because the younger guys are coming in, and the NFL is pretty good at recycling older players,” he said.

Tomasson wrote:

Vikings [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer calls Odenigbo a “violent player” on the field. He’s been pretty intense lately off it, as well.

[Defensive end Danielle] Hunter figured that out when he would arrive at the TCO Performance Center for spring workouts and in training camp, and Odenigbo’s 2017 Porsche Macan GTS always would be in a prime parking spot.

“He’s here at like 6 in the morning every day,” Hunter told Tomasson. “He’s always in the first spot every … day. They have the signs that say ‘Owners Parking,’ and he’s right next to them.”

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