Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn knew how he’d celebrate a walk-off touchdown if the opportunity came his way.
The second-year receiver, running the same high corner route that Stefon Diggs broke loose on during Minneapolis Miracle, caught a pass from Kirk Cousins and extended the ball across the goal line to secure a 34-28 walk-off overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
He heaved his helmet in the air, paying homage to Diggs and the Minneapolis Miracle win over the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFC playoffs. Shortly after Sunday’s win, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that the Osborn had planned to throw his helmet on an overtime touchdown.
“Vikings WR @KJ_Osborn told me that, if he scored in OT, he planned to remove his helmet and throw it, as a specific nod to @stefondiggs and the Minneapolis Miracle. And he did,” Florio tweeted.
Osborn also borrowed Lebron James‘ “silencer” celebration as the Fox NFL camera pans in for a close-up.
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Osborn Changing the Vikings Offense
The Vikings haven’t had a true third wide receiver since Jarius Wright in the Teddy Bridgewater era.
Osborn is quickly proving he’s more than a mirage in the Vikings offense.
He’s seen four or more targets in five of the team’s six games and has totaled 233 yards this season. He finished with six catches for 78 yards and his game-clinching TD on Sunday. Osborn also scored against the Arizona Cardinals, catching five passes for 91 yards in Week 2.
Thanks to Osborn, the Vikings offense has leaned more toward 11 personnel sets this season than in years past. He’s made the offense more versatile and imposing as the unit posted the third-highest yardage output (571) in franchise history against the Panthers.
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While the stakes aren’t nearly as high, the Vikings have needed several spectacular finishes to win games this season.
Osborn’s touchdown kept the Panthers from stealing a game that the Vikings dominated. After an abysmal offensive showing by the Panthers for the majority of the game, Sam Darnold led a 96-yard drive that included a pair of fourth-down conversions.
Adding to an impressive reel of late-game drives this season, Cousins drove the Vikings 46 yards downfield to give kicker Greg Joseph a chance to clinch the game.
Joseph’s 47-yard kick attempt went wide right; his second missed field goal try of the game.
But again, Cousins bailed out his team by leading the game-clinching drive in overtime, capped by his 27-yard touchdown connection to Osborn.
Cousins’ connection with Osborn was redemptive after having a chance for an overtime win in Week 1 before Dalvin Cook fumbled the ball. He led another potential game-winning drive in Week 2 that was foiled by Joseph missing a field goal against the Cardinals.
The Vikings have finally gotten it right the past two weeks with Joseph helping Cousins and the Vikings find paydirt with a 54-yard field goal conversion against the Detriot Lions last week.
Cousins completed 33 of 48 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. Through six games, he’s completed 69.6% of his pass attempts for 1,396 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.