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K.J. Osborn debuts as Vikings’ No. 3 receiver on first depth chart

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) reaches for the goalline before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a wide-open competition for the third receiver role in Minnesota. For now, one guy has opened up a lead.

K.J. Osborn, a fifth-round pick in 2020, lands as the clear-cut third option on the Vikings’ preliminary depth chart of the preseason.

Next comes free-agent arrival Dede Westbrook, followed by a seven-player cluster of “other” candidates, listed in this order, top to bottom: Dan Chisena, Blake Proehl, Myron Mitchel, Chad Beebe, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Whop Philyor, and Warren Jackson.

That has to be a tough pill for Beebe, who recently spoke about his desire to win the competition for the third receiver spot -- and his desire to win it. Based on the unofficial depth chart, he’s got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

Elsewhere on the depth chart, Kirk Cousins (to no surprise) is the starting quarterback. Jake Browning (to some surprise) is the second-stringer, with Nate Stanley next and then rookie Kellen Mond and Danny Etling.

Mond, a third-round pick in April, was expected to rise immediately to backup; however, his COVID absence (due to being unvaccinated) caused him to miss 10 days of camp. Stanley (also unvaccinated) missed five days as a close contact. With Cousins (also unvaccinated) missing five days, too, Browning had multiple opportunities to learn the offense and earn a status higher than bottom of the roster, at least for now.