The Vikings Employ the Most Consistent Player in the NFL

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Justin Jefferson left the game in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The game was ultimately lost, but more devastating was the news that the star receiver would be out for at least four games with a hamstring injury. He has now missed six contests, and other guys have stepped up, with T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison leading the group.

The Vikings Employ the Most Consistent Player in the NFL

The Vikings Employ the Most Consistent Player in the NFL
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While those two guys and Brandon Powell have significantly increased their statistics during Jefferson’s absence, one guy has been the same as always. K.J. Osborn, a fourth-year player out of Buffalo and Miami, somehow posts the same numbers every season, regardless of the circumstances around him.

In his sophomore breakout season, Osborn recorded 655 receiving yards. One year later, in 2022, he racked up 650 yards. In ten games this season, Osborn produced 384 yards and is on pace for 614 because he missed a game with a concussion suffered in a serious collision with cornerback Dee Alford. It has been his only absence in his four-year career.

His yards per game show his consistency even better. In 2021, he had 38.5 receiving yards per game; that number slightly dropped to 38.2 in 2022, and his 2023 number is 38.4. In his five games without Jefferson, he had 43.6 receiving yards per game, barely showing a change.

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Having a reliable player as the third wideout option next to Jefferson and Adam Thielen or Addison is rare, but the Vikes have had one since his breakout season. As a rookie, Osborn didn’t see the field on offense and was exclusively a special teamer, although he struggled as a return man.

Once Kene Nwangwu was drafted in 2021, many folks expected Osborn to get axed because he had no impact on offense and lost his return job. However, he was a surprise standout in training camp and earned the vacant job as the WR3 behind Jefferson and Thielen, a spot the Vikings couldn’t find a solid player for years.

Viking Has Everything
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Osborn’s specialty has become the clutch play. Throughout his tenure with the purple team, he has continuously shined in the biggest moments when other players couldn’t get open. That started in 2021 when he caught the game-winner in an overtime win over Carolina, but he also sparked the comeback win over the Colts in 2022 with ten catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.

He seems to have a couple of statistical explosions every season. Against the Packers a few weeks ago, he gained 99 yards on eight catches. Osborn will be an interesting name in the offseason as his rookie contract is set to expire, and he will hit free agency in March unless the Vikings extend his contract.

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Wide receivers are always popular on the open market. However, Osborn hasn’t shown he can be more than a WR3, and teams are hesitant to pay someone who can’t produce at a higher level. If his market isn’t that high, there’s a good chance the Vikings try to bring him back as a fourth option next to Jefferson, Hockenson, and Addison.

Although he will not break any records, having a player who can rack up numbers between 600 and 700 yards annually is a valuable asset. Osborn will turn 27 in June.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt