K.J. Osborn Does It Again
Remember the old days — 2014 to 2020 — when the Minnesota Vikings had no reliable WR3 to lean on in crucial situations or ever, really? Those days are long gone.
Third-year wideout K.J. Osborn scored another late-game, go-ahead touchdown on Sunday, taking a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to the house from 28 yards away. It was reminiscent of his 2021 walk-off score at the Carolina Panthers.
And it was the killshot Sunday, too, putting the Vikings ahead in the lead 28-24 for the first and final time. The game was quite the batch of gridiron potpourri for Minnesota, blending defensive struggles (at times) for a second straight week with clutch performances from offensive and defensive playmakers.
Cousins bounced back from a forgettable showing six days prior on Monday Night Football, when the Vikings were creamed by the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-7. While Cousins wasn’t flawless, he looked like a different human than the guy at the center of the MNF snafu in Week 2.
The Lions owned the time of possession battle by eight minutes, a statistic that would generally spell doomsday for the Vikings. However, Minnesota’s defense flexed when it mattered — in a game where it could generate no pash rush. The Vikings sacked Lions signal-caller Jared Goff zero times, another stat that usually spells doomsday for the purple team.
But not this version.
Detroit minimalized Justin Jefferson for 3 receptions and 14 yards. It gambled on 4th Down six times, converting on four occasions. The Lions watched as Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed two long field goals (both 56-yard attempts). And Dalvin Cook left the game in the 2nd Half with a shoulder injury.
Still, the Vikings grinded, relied on situational defense that usually collapsed in 2021, and handed Cousins the keys to a 4th Quarter comeback. In the end, Cousins delivered a dart to Osborn, and that was that.
Vikings enthusiasts also looked on as Detroit took possession of the ball with about 25 seconds left. Few fans felt “safe.” But again, these aren’t the 2021 Vikings prone to utter defensive meltdowns. Josh Metellus snatched an interception as Goff threw up a fatal prayer — minutes after the same Metellus dropped a would-be game-ending pick — finishing the game for good.
The win situated the Vikings on the lid of the NFC North, with Green Bay and Chicago marinating at 2-1, too. Had the Vikings lost, they would’ve been the sole occupants of the NFC North basement — not a good look for a team with playoff aspirations. In the vein, some joyous moments of the game felt season-saving.
The 2022 Vikings have grit, arguably a brand that hasn’t been displayed in about three years. It all starts with this guy, F-bombs and all.
The Vikings travel to Great Britain for a date with the 1-2 New Orleans Saints next Sunday.
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Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).