As the Vikings got the ball and began to drive toward what would have been a game-winning touchdown, receiver K.J. Osborn made a decision. If he scored, he’d remove his helmet and throw it, just like another Vikings receiver did in the 2017 postseason.
“I thought of that before,” Osborn told PFT by phone after Sunday’s 34-28 overtime win. “Me and [Stefon] Diggs are good friends. We train together in the offseason. When I came to Minnesota, I watched that a bunch of times. Just being a ball player, you know having fun. If I score, I’m gonna walk this thing, I’m gonna toss my helmet. I was able to get in there, so I just went on with it. That’s definitely — he inspired me by that a little bit, so I got to talk to him.”
The play became official after a somewhat protracted replay review. Did Osborn have any doubt that he got the ball over the front plane of the end zone?
“No, I didn’t,” Osborn said. “That’s why I tossed my helmet.”
On the play that won the game, Osborn was the second option. And quarterback Kirk Cousins trusted Osborn to make the play.
“Obviously it means everything to me,” Osborn said. “To come up clutch in these late games and, you know, Kirk trusts me. That means everything to me. I just try to go out there and do my job and continue to create the truth between me and him. It means everything to me. It’s awesome.”
It was also awesome earlier in the drive, when Osborn somehow made a catch on third and three, despite being blanketed. He bobbled the ball but held onto it.
“I should’ve caught it with my hands,” Osborn said. “I caught it with my body a little bit. . . . I knew he was on me so I just tried to hold on tight and that was a first down. That was a big play. It was a tough play but I have confidence in myself to make plays.”
He should have even more confidence in himself after today. And the Vikings should have more confidence in Osborn, too. With Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen leading the depth chart, Osborn has become the clear-cut No. 3. And he’s capable of doing the things that No. 1 and No. 2 do.