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Skol Schemes, Week 18: In Appreciation of K.J. Osborn

Looking back at some great plays from #17 this season

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

As part of the Vikings 11 personnel attack, K.J. Osborn fills an often overlooked role. Osborn has quietly caught crunch time throws, stretched defenses, and does the dirty work in the run game. As the Vikings like to run the ball without fullback C.J. Ham on the field, Osborn sometimes finds himself matched up on bigger bodies or cuts off defenders on the back side of runs.

Osborn, who enjoyed a strong day against Chicago in the Vikings on-ramp to the playoffs, has shown his ability be stout in the run game, attack coverage deep, and be a target in the red zone. With Justin Jefferson eating a vast majority of the defense’s resources, players like Osborn can find themselves in prime positions to succeed.

The Run Game

K.J. Osborn is listed at 203 pounds and blocks above his weight class. During the year, Osborn has used leverage, footwork, and effort in the run game:

Seriously, watch 17 block!

Attacking Vertically

In what seems like a decade ago, the Vikings found themselves driving on the Lions down by 3 as the clock was winding down. The Lions doubled Justin Jefferson for a large part of their Week 3 matchup and Osborn was the beneficiary on the game winner:

The Lions game also gave us another example of how Osborn stepping up helps the offense as a whole shine:

When the Chips are Down

Kevin O’Connell has been a masterful red zone designer this year. As part of that, K.J. Osborn has found himself open on a few occasions:

Osborn’s versatility has also given KOC the confidence to dial up plays for 17:

As the Vikings open up the playoffs at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Giants will look to stop Justin Jefferson. Both Jefferson and Hockenson broke the century mark in a Week 16 matchup with New York, but this time around expect even more resources to be devoted to those two. If that happens, the Vikings will benefit from K.J. Osborn’s ability as they look to start climbing the playoff mountain.