Vikings Lose Key Playmaker

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

If you’re a Minnesota Vikings fan and wanted change, well, you got it this offseason.

Vikings Lose Key Playmaker

The latest is wide receiver K.J. Osborn, whose resume in Minnesota spanned four seasons. Now, the team’s WR3 from 2023 is on his way to the AFC.

vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Sunday afternoon. “The Patriots are adding again, this time signing former Vikings WR K.J. Osborn, per me and Tom Pelissero.”

So life after the North Star State begins in the northeast for Osborn, who spent his whole rookie contract with the Vikings. The University of Miami alumnus busted out into prominence [out of nowhere] during the summer of 2021 after an unbelievably quiet rookie year during the pandemic season. In fact, the Vikings didn’t use Osborn on offense at all as a rookie, but he emerged at training camp the following season.

Viking Has Everything
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And then the veteran playmaker stuck around until now, mostly used as a WR3. Moreover, Osborn’s arrival on the scene was of the utmost importance for Minnesota. For about four seasons, the Vikings “never really seemed to care” about WR3, nominating men like Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe for the task. But when Osborn seized the job in 2021, the purple team finally employed an honest-to-goodness WR3.

Osborn snatched 48 receptions for 540 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2023. The year was pretty standard in Osborn’s world, though the touchdown numbers dipped.

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports.

With Jordan Addison’s immediate emergence to WR2, Osborn could grab more money on the open market than the Vikings were willing to deliver. Moreover, Osborn was not drafted by this front office and coaching staff, meaning he may not be a priority for re-signing.

When it’s all said and done in free agency, it will become clear that the moment Minnesota drafted Addison, Osborn’s days were numbered in Minnesota.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

These are the Patriots’ current wide receivers following the Osborn signing:

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • Kendrick Bourne
  • DeMario Douglas
  • K.J. Osborn
  • Jalen Reagor
  • Tyquan Thornton
  • Kayshon Boutte
  • T.J. Luther
  • Kawaan Baker

New England also has the chance to improve the group — like, markedly — by drafting Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. in about five weeks. The Patriots own the draft’s third overall pick, a prime spot for Harrison Jr. Jerod Mayo’s team also needs a quarterback, so Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye could make sense at No. 3, too.

Per DVOA, the Patriots’ offense ranked 29th leaguewide last year, but head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Mac Jones are no longer employed by New England.

Osborn will turn 27 in June.

As Jordan Reid suggested, the Patriots’ signing of Osborn should solidify two 3rd-Round compensatory draft picks for the Vikings in 2025 after Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter signed elsewhere last week.


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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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