As much as he learned from his father Don about the nuances of playing wide receiver in the NFL, Chad Beebe knew at an early enough age he hadn’t inherited his dad’s most notable attribute.
“I mean, he ran a 4.2 , so that helps, too,” Chad Beebe said.
The younger Beebe isn’t as fleet of foot as his father, who famously chased down Leon Lett in Super Bowl XXVII to strip the defensive tackle of the ball as he was celebrating a would-be touchdown, But Beebe picked up plenty of the nuances of the wide receiver position from his dad, who went to six Super Bowls with the Bills and Packers over the course of his nine-year career. And five years after Adam Thielen went from a rookie camp tryout to the Vikings’ practice squad before eventually ascending to the active roster, Beebe has found his way into NFL game action even faster.
He remains on the Vikings’ 53-man roster, even with Stefon Diggs ready to return from a rib injury, and could be active for his second game on Sunday night after catching three passes for 21 yards against the Lions on Nov. 4. While the 5-foot-10 Beebe’s 40 times were around 4.6 seconds coming out of Northern Illinois, he’s carved out a spot on the Vikings’ roster thanks to his crisp movement skill that turned him into a training camp standout and helped him give the Vikings’ star-studded defense fits in practices while Beebe was on the scout team.
“You remember how Diggs was when he was a rookie, when he’d come out here and catch balls all over the place, and we finally got him active?” coach Mike Zimmer said. “It’s kind of been that way with Beebe. I’m not saying they’re the same guy, but over the course of time, he continued to show up.”
Beebe’s biggest play against the Lions came on a 4th-and-2 during the Vikings’ first drive, when he lined up across from cornerback Teez Tabor in the slot, started his route to the outside, took a quick jab step inside to get Tabor to shift his weight and broke back to the outside, catching a pass from Kirk Cousins for a 13-yard gain.
“He’s got quick feet,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said. “You know the old saying, which I wasn’t sure I believed in, but guys that say, ‘He is quicker than fast?’ Well, I believe it now. He is fast, but he is legitimate quick. And he is a fast decision maker. You saw him run that choice route on fourth-and-two and he made a quick decision. It was a big play in that football game. We ended up going down and scoring that touchdown. It was a huge play. He did a great job.”
The 24-year-old’s ability to get in and out of his breaks has helped him separate from defensive backs, and though he’s picked up a fair number of the nuances of playing receiver in the NFL, he’s learning more from Diggs and Thielen, two of the game’s best at getting open.
“Those are great players, and I get to watch film on them every single day, learn from them and ask them questions,” he said. “Growing up, my father was a huge influence on me, and I’ve always been able to pick his brain. He’s very knowledgeable about the game, and I think that helped me in my career, starting out.
“He always instilled in me just the mental side of the game, and how important that is — bringing attitude on the field each and every day, just being a silent warrior. You don’t have to use your mouth and talk a game, you know what I’m saying? Just do what you know to do on the field, with your physical attributes, and use what God gave you to the best of your ability.’