5 Bold Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos – Preseason Week 1

(Photo by David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) K.J. Osborn /

Osborn will cement his case for WR3

The Vikings’ offense could be sloppy on Saturday as several starters have missed practice time. While Cousins is the most notable absence, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson have also been injured, leaving some of the younger receivers to soak up the reps.

One of the beneficiaries has been K.J. Osborn, who is leading the race for the third wide receiver spot.

Osborn had a rocky rookie season for the Vikings as he didn’t play a single snap at wide receiver. Relegated as a punt returner, Osborn struggled and appeared to be a cut candidate at the beginning of training camp. But the Miami product has stood out this offseason and could be on his way to seizing a key role.

“We kind of noticed during OTAs that he’s taken a step,” Cousins said about Osborn on Wednesday. “He’s had strong, aggressive hands [and he’s made] difficult catches. He’s showing up more on explosive plays. He’s running by people and obviously what comes with being a second-year player is command. That confidence enables your natural ability to rise to the surface because you can turn your mind off a little bit and just go play. I think that’s showing in the way K.J. has played so well.”

It’s unlikely we see Jefferson or Thielen on Saturday, meaning Osborn should get an increased role against the Broncos. With Dede Westbrook injured, Osborn could break away from the field with another strong performance.