EAGAN, Minn. — No matter what Chad Beebe did for the Vikings last season, comparisons to his father, former NFL receiver Don Beebe, followed him every step of the way.
And that made sense. It seemed like the only way to rationalize how an undersized 5-foot-10, 180-pound slot receiver out of Northern Illinois could ever succeed at the next level.
Essentially, if Don Beebe could play nearly a decade in the NFL despite lack of size, then Chad Beebe at least had a chance, right?
“He showed up last season at rookie mini camp and he really didn’t have a name for himself,” Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski said. “He was just Don Beebe’s son.”
That was then. This is now.
After being promoted to the active roster midway through last season, Chad Beebe stuck around despite a lingering hamstring injury, and looks poised to break out in 2019. He continued to turn heads throughout minicamp and will return for training camp next month with his eyes set on the No. 3 wide receiver spot.
Even if he won’t admit it.
“Honestly, I don’t even pay attention to it,” he said. “Looking back on it, the way I got here, and the way I stayed here, was going out there and doing the best I can and letting everything else fall into place. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Still, Chad Beebe admitted it feels different this season. Though he still wants to perform at a high level on every play, he’s no longer stressing over every single rep.
“Naturally, the nerves were there last season because I was out there trying to make a name for myself,” he said. “Not saying I’m not still trying to do that. It just helps to have some experience under my belt and some playing time. I’m able to take a deep breath every so often and enjoy it and have fun and play the way I know I can.”
As crisp a route runner as there is on the team, Chad Beebe looks like a natural fit as an underneath option for quarterback Kirk Cousins with Pro Bowl receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen manning the outside. It’s no coincidence that Beebe is always open in practice, or that he looks to have supplanted former first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell on the depth chart.
“He has had probably as good an offseason as any player that I know on our side of the ball,” assistant head coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s got a chance to be a really good player for us. It gives us flexibility to bounce around personnel-wise.”
Aside from getting more playing time, Chad Beebe said a focus for him is staying healthy. He likely could have had a bigger impact last season had it not been for the hamstring injury.
“I don’t want that to be the reason why I get cut,” he said. “If that’s going to happen, I want it to be because I’m not making the plays, or I’m not good enough, or whatever the case may be. I don’t want it to be because of an injury.”
Not that he’s thinking about getting cut. His spot on the active roster looks pretty safe now.
“It definitely gives me a little more confidence when I’m out there,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t want to get too comfortable. Especially at this level. There’s always guys coming in trying to take that spot. It’s about continuing to get better each day.”