Last season the Vikings offense finished ranked 12th in yards and 14th in points per game. An above average but still middle of the pack offense, combined with a horrible defense, ended up getting everyone fired. Now we're here in 2022. New GM, new HC, new OC, new everything. The Vikings brought in a young offensive mind to lead the squad, and he is coming from an offense that put up nearly 30 points per game last season. With all that said, I believe the Vikings weapons are in for huge years, specifically KJ Osborn.
KJ Osborn broke onto the scene a bit last year with a line of 50/655/7, after a rookie season of posting a whopping zero catches on zero targets. To be able to improve that much in one season is stellar, and I believe that could be attributed to WR coach Keenan McCardell, who Kevin O'Connell kept on staff. McCardell played 15 years in the Nation Football League, and is the owner of 8 seasons over 890 yards and five 1,000 yard seasons. As a coach he helped Keelan Cole and Marquise Lee reach over 700 yard seasons in the first year of his coaching, and those were numbers they would never reach again. His last few years in Jacksonville he was dealt some pretty awful talent, but he still helped develop DJ Chark to a 1,000 yard receiver, and got 700 yards out of Chris Conley. He is proving to be one of the better receiver developers in the entire league, and everything I have heard is that the guys in the room love him. KJ Osborn with another year under McCardell is going to do wonders for him.
Moving on to the next reason KJ Osborn is primed for a big 1,000 yard season breakout is the Rams system to be implemented throws the ball slightly more than the scheme of old. Don't expect the Vikings to come out and be an Andy Reid or Bruce Arians, air it out fest every week, but do expect the passing volume to increase. For example, last season Kirk Cousins supported a 1,600 yard WR and 3 more 600ish+ targets. Justin Jefferson's production is going nowhere, but Kirk did that on just 561 pass attempts. In the two seasons Cousins has with over 600 pass attempts he has produced at least two 1,000 yard WRs, and another 800+ yard WR. Cousins has proved time and time again that he can let his weapons eat, and I expect nothing less this season.
This next reason why isn't something I love talking about, but it is a real talking point. In the games that Adam Thielen missed KJ had some good games. 3 catches for 83 yards and a a TD, and 3 catches for 50 yards and a TD. He also had some stinkers too with just a 3 catches for 21 yards, and a 1 catch 21 yard 1 TD performance. However even with those stinkers if you take his averages and stretch it out for a season long he is up to nearly 750 yards with 13 TDs. Even if he doesn't hit the 1,000 yard breakout, 13 TDs is probably more valuable anyways. If we just look at the games where Osborn played over 70% of the snaps and stretch that out to a season long his numbers would be 63/889/12. We all expect the Vikings offense to be in 11 personnel a lot more this year, and KJ has proven when he is on the field he is productive.
The final reason is simply the fact that everyday he gets to practice with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Both of those guys are been there, done that in this league and specifically Thielen has many many years of experience. Everyone in the room wants to be the best player in the room so they are going to consistently push each other to be better everyday. AT and JJ can help teach KJ the ways that they win and help implement them into his game.
KJ Osborn is a young WR surrounded with a fantastic WR coach, 2 already star WRs in the league to work with, and now a spot in the base offensive formation in the new HC's scheme. From year one to year two his production increased so much that it just makes you salivate at the mouth about what he could be in year three. I fully expect Osborn to break one of the 1,000 yard or 10 TD barrier this year because he has proven to be just that talented.