EAGAN, Minn. — Chad Beebe jumped on a quick flight from Minneapolis to Chicago over the bye week to relax and catch up with family and friends.
The Vikings rookie wide receiver will be on another flight from the Twin Cities to the Windy City this weekend, but this trip will be a little more serious.
Beebe, fresh off his NFL debut against the Lions, is now prepping for his first career regular-season road game. It just so happens it will take place at Soldier Field, which is only 50 miles from his hometown of Aurora.
"That's where I'm from, so I went back home and saw some family and friends I hadn't seen in a while," Beebe said. "It's home, and I'm excited go to play the Bears. It will be a lot of fun … I've got a bunch of people coming.
After stepping in for Stefon Diggs in Week 9, Beebe said he heard from a lot of people he hadn't heard from in a long time, but those around the Vikings have been on the Beebe train since he showed up in May for Minnesota's rookie minicamp.
The former Northern Illinois standout turned enough heads to stick around for Organized Team Activities before showing out in training camp and in the preseason with nine catches for 55 yards and two touchdown catches.
That led to a spot on the practice squad for the first eight weeks of the 2018 season before Beebe was promoted to the 53-man roster.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Beebe just continued to impress week after week, no matter what the situation.
"Remember how [Stefon] Diggs was when he was a rookie and he'd come out here and catch balls all over the place before we finally got him active? It's kind of been that way with Beebe," Zimmer said Thursday. "I'm not saying they're the same guy, but over the course of time he continued to show that.
"He comes out here and beats guys," Zimmer later added. "He's always caught the ball good and has always had confidence."
Beebe had three catches for 21 yards in his pro debut, moving the chains twice in the first half, leading to praise from Diggs and DeFilippo on Thursday.
"It started back in training camp. It really did. You could just tell this kid understood football … he obviously has great bloodlines," DeFilippo said in reference to Beebe's father, Don, who played nine seasons in the NFL with Buffalo, Carolina and Green Bay. "He is a great kid. He doesn't say anything. All he wants to do is learn. It started back in training camp where you're like, 'Wow, this guy just keeps making plays.' The more you give him, the more he makes plays and, 'Wow, this guy can handle playing a lot of spots.'
"As it got into the season when he was running against our defense, which is no walk in the park on an everyday basis, he kept making plays. I would go back and watch some of the scout team practice on Friday afternoons … and he just kept making play after play after play," DeFilippo added. "We are fortunate that we were allowed to get him up. I think you saw him in his first action the other night against Detroit and going in there and making a huge fourth-down catch, a third-down catch. He did a great job. I think the more he can handle and the more he shows he can handle, the bigger his role will be."
Added Diggs: "We see those guys in practice all the time have success, and it wasn't surprising to me as far as the work he put in. He's a quiet guy, so he doesn't say much. We do all the talking. But he definitely does a great job."
Beebe said Minnesota's bye week came at the perfect time for him to take a breath and realize that he was a pro football player gearing up for a chase at a division title.
"The bye week, for me, I thought it was the perfect time. I was able to play a game and got my feet wet, then got the bye week to kind of soak it in a little bit and let it become reality. At first it didn't seem real … it was kind of surreal, you know? It was kind of nice to have that bye week and recuperate."
The first part of that playoff push will come in a place Beebe knows well, and in a place where he'll have plenty of familiar faces in the stands Sunday night.
"I can't really put a number on it, but I know it will be quite a bit," Beebe said of the support he'll have. "But when I was home [my Chicago friends] said, 'We'll be cheering for you, but we want the Bears to win.' "
So there won't be any extra tickets handed out then?
"They ended up going to StubHub," Beebe said with a laugh.