“Deceptive” is how safety Anthony Harris described the latest Vikings receiver to sprout through the cracks of the NFL pavement.
Chad Beebe, the undrafted rookie out of Northern Illinois, had been standing out to the Vikings defense long before he made his NFL debut during Sunday’s 24-9 win against the Lions.
Beebe, who had three catches for 21 yards on Sunday, is so deceptive he sneaked under the radars of 31 other NFL teams when the Vikings cut him after a strong preseason.
Harris said he didn’t think Beebe would make it back to Minnesota.
“Right away, you saw he had the ability to be out there and be effective,” Harris said. “I thought that he’d get picked up by somebody just based off his performance and ability. But he stayed positive through all that and now things turned out for him.”
The Vikings were fortunate to sneak Beebe onto the practice squad, from where he was promoted this weekend while star receiver Stefon Diggs was unable to play due to a rib injury.
The Lions overlooked Beebe initially. Receiver Adam Thielen, seeking his NFL-record ninth straight 100-yard receiving game, was doubled throughout much of Sunday while being held to just four catches for 22 yards and a touchdown.
But quarterback Kirk Cousins found another easy target in Beebe, who beat man-to-man coverage for consecutive catches on the first drive.
Beebe’s first NFL catch drew a roar from the U.S. Bank Stadium crowd otherwise unjustified of a 2-yard grab.
“I had just a little out and back in, you know, getting that first catch definitely helped,” Beebe said. “At first, there were some jitters. It’s all new to me still. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but obviously I had a pretty fun day.”
His second NFL catch was worthy of the applause. Beebe crossed the field, showing off the short-area quickness to lose his defender for a 13-yard catch and run on fourth-and-2. Three plays later, running back Latavius Murray ran for a goal-line touchdown.
Beebe, the son of former NFL receiver Don Beebe, had a cheering section all to himself in the crowd.
“Well, it’s kind of a secret. They wouldn’t really tell me [how many], but there’s quite a few [people] upstairs waiting for me,” Beebe said. “The support I’ve gotten from my family is ridiculous. I’m super thankful and blessed for them.”
The Lions took quick notice, according to Cousins, who said Detroit started to double Beebe in the second half. A third-and-6 incompletion on a deep shot to Aldrick Robinson stood out to Cousins.
“On the deep ball to Aldrick, they doubled [Beebe] and Adam,” Cousins said. “That was a recognition at halftime from their side, “Hey, we’re not going to let this guy beat us in man coverage. We’re going to double him as well.’”
Sometimes promotions are short-lived in the NFL, but the deceptive Beebe looks like he’s shown his ability well enough to stay.
“I think he’s a great asset for us as we look to the second half of the season,” Cousins said.