There was a flash of speed at rookie minicamp—and it wasn’t first round pick Mike Hughes, who exhibited some cool, quick glide during the non-contact punt return drills. Instead it was undrafted rookie wideout Chad Beebe turning some heads with his feet, just like his dad, Don, did back in the day.
Chad Beebe, a product of Northern Illinois, is a long shot to make the Vikings—he was one of 31 invitees to the minicamp last week. But those long odds just got a little shorter this week when the Vikings announced that Beebe and three others (Southern Illinois cornerback Craig James, UNLV fullback Johnny Stanton and Western Illinois linebacker Brett Taylor) were added to the roster and long snapper Nick Dooley was released along with receiver Armanti Foreman, defensive tackle Caushaud Lyons and fullback Kamryn Pettway.
Beebe will make it to OTAs and training camp for the Vikings, and if the improbable (at this point) happens and he makes the team, he will have a chance to be part of something special—well, maybe not so special. As one writer put it to me last week at the rookie minicamp, he and his dad might just be the only two members of the same family to have played for the only two 0-4 Super Bowl teams—Don for the Buffalo Bills and Chad for the Vikings. (We don’t even want to fact check whether or not he is right—but he most likely is.)
Actually, what the speedy Chad Beebe would like to do is make the Vikings squad (or practice squad) and perhaps be the next Adam Thielen. By that we mean an undrafted rookie minicamp invitee to make the big leap to the 53-man roster and eventually make an impact. Beebe has a long way to go, but his lineage says he has a chance.
“Chad is a much better route runner with much better ball skills than I had,” Don Beebe told Mark Craig of the Star Tribune. “I could just run really fast.”
According to the Tribune, the dad is right. Don ran 4.2 second 40-yard dash while playing with the Bills, a year with the Carolina Panthers and eventually the Green Bay Packers, while his son runs a 4.5 second forty. Don, you may remember, went to four Super Bowls with the Bills (and two with the Packers), but his most memorable moment came when he chased down Leon Lett (who was styling toward the goal line after recovering a Frank Reich fumble) and knocked the ball from Lett’s hand before he crossed the goal line. The Bills lost big, but Beebe saved a small bit of face by turning another score into a touchback.
The elder Beebe made the play with his speed (racing down the sidelines after being way down field the opposite direction on a pass route), and his son made some plays last week with his speed. Chad Beebe looked quick in running precise routes and confident in making plays on the ball with taller defenders despite his size. The Vikings have a battle going on at slot receiver (Chad’s position) with Jarius Wright gone and they could use some help at punt return (as Marcus Sherels, another minicamp invitee who has made a huge mark on the team, is nearing the end of his career).
There are some obstacles ahead of the young Beebe, as there are 12 (if you include the suspended Caleb Jones) wide receivers on the Vikings roster heading towards OTAs. And at 5-9, 165 pounds (according to Vikings.com), Beebe gives up an inch and 20 pounds to the next biggest Vikings wideout, free agent slot man Kendall Wright. But Beebe’s size hasn’t held him back to this point. In fact, his competitiveness and drive have helped him make it to an NFL training camp roster.
And if he sticks, perhaps it will be a good omen rather than a rare, dubious statistic. Because remember, father Don did finally get his Super Bowl ring in 1996 with the Packers. Perhaps the younger Beebe can help the Vikings break their bad luck string in Super Bowls in his first season. A person can hope.