Suddenly, One Particular Viking Has Everything on the Line.

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The next three months of Minnesota Vikings football will be about roster battles and well — only that.

It’s that time of year, as the Vikings are over the hump of free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft. Of course, a few free agents will likely join the club throughout the summer, but those will be depth signings, if any.

Suddenly, One Particular Viking Has Everything on the Line.

And as a result of current roster construction, plus the fruit of the draft, one man has everything on the line in 2023 — wide receiver K.J. Osborn.

Here’s why, in two parts.

The Battle for WR2

Most Vikings loyalists assume 1st-Round rookie Jordan Addison will become the real deal. If he does not, something would’ve gone haywire in retrospect.

Viking Has Everything
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But here’s the deal: Addison has to actually win the WR2 job. It will not be handed to him. Meanwhile, Osborn is already a productive receiver, chomping at the bit to prove he’s the rightful WR2 of the Minnesota Vikings. He tweeted this one month ago:

That’s a man with a chip on his shoulder — with a side dish of comedy. Between the end of free agency’s first wave and the start of April’s draft, Osborn probably thought he was the WR2. And why wouldn’t he? Adam Thielen departed for the Carolina Panthers in March, and Minnesota signed no free-agent wideouts like D.J. Chark or Darius Slayton.

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Osborn must dethrone just one man for the WR2 gig, and it’s an unproven NFL rookie. You better believe he’ll have everything to prove at training camp and in the preseason.

A Contract Year

Imagine, for example, Addison is that prolific and ousts Osborn for WR2 immediately, or, you know, the scenario most folks foresee. Osborn will not fade into the sunset with a whimper.

Lord Have Mercy. What Is This Team?
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Not only is he boxing out Addison for the Vice President job to Jefferson, but he’s quietly auditioning for 2024 free agency, whether with the Vikings or 31 other teams. If you’ve paid close attention to the 2021, 2022, and 2023 free agency periods, wide receivers are netting fat paydays from WR-needy organizations.

That can be Osborn in 10 months.

Explained: The WR Section of the Vikings New Depth Chart
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Too, it really won’t matter for Osborn’s sake if he has a WR2 or WR3 title throughout the 2023 regular season. Every morsel of his production will go on a resume to show general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah or someone else in free agency.

There’s also a scenario where Osborn is so efficient that he retains the WR2 job — and the Vikings still say bon voyage in 2024. Addison was drafted for a reason, Osborn could be too expensive next March — and boom — Osborn hits the open market.

Among many, monitoring Osborn’s summer, autumn, and winter is a meaty Vikings storyline. It’s all on the line for the 25-year-old.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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