5 Vikings role players who can thrive under the new regime in 2022

(Photo by Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Phillips
(Photo by Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Phillips /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) K.J. Osborn /

K.J. Osborn – WR

The emergence of K.J. Osborn last season was one of the real highlights. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson took the spotlight – and with good reason – but the former Miami standout’s contribution left enough to suggest the Minnesota Vikings have another gem on their hands.

Osborn turned into a prolific slot weapon and earned the trust of quarterback Kirk Cousins quickly. This resulted in 50 receptions for 655 receiving yards and seven touchdowns after being virtually anonymous throughout his rookie campaign in 2020.

Having an offensive-minded coach in Kevin O’Connell could be the spark Osborn and the Vikings need. Things had become stagnant under Mike Zimmer, who prided himself on defensive efficiency, so unleashing the shackles to a certain extent could be beneficial for everyone involved.

Osborn has the speed to stretch the field and his route-running came on in a big way last season. At 25-years-old, there is plenty of scope for the former fifth-round pick to get even better, providing his attitude remains the same.

Hopes are extremely high for the Vikings offense in 2022. O’Connell’s presence, an improved offensive line, the return of Irv Smith Jr., and a phenomenal wide receiver trio means everything is in place for Cousins, including Dalvin Cook to lean on in the backfield.

Osborn will be a key cog. And the wideout should also get plenty of room to work with so many gifted playmakers around him.

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