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Vikings hope undrafted rookie receiver Chad Beebe is Stefon Diggs 2.0

EAGAN, Minn. -- No Portillo's for Vikings rookie Chad Beebe this weekend. Though the 24-year-old receiver grew up on the well-known Chicago cuisine, he begrudgingly has decided to take a pass when Vikings are in Chicago to play the Bears on Sunda...

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Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (12) runs after the catch in the first quarter against Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Nov. 4, 2018. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

EAGAN, Minn. -- No Portillo’s for Vikings rookie Chad Beebe this weekend.

Though the 24-year-old receiver grew up on the well-known Chicago cuisine, he begrudgingly has decided to take a pass when Vikings are in Chicago to play the Bears on Sunday night at Solider Field.

“Not exactly in the diet plan,” Beebe said with a laugh. “Maybe in the offseason.”

Even without chowing down on the renowned Italian beef and side of cheese fries, it’ll be a nice homecoming for Beebe, who grew up about 45 minutes away, in Aurora, Ill.

“It’s going to be pretty special to go back,” said Beebe, an undrafted free agent who was signed to the active roster two weeks ago after balling out on the practice squad. “It’s my home, so going back there and being able to play in front of a bunch of people that know me is going to be a lot fun.”

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Beebe caught three passes for 21 yards in his NFL debut two weeks ago against the Detroit Lions, including a crucial fourth-down catch on the opening drive of the game.

Nobody on the Vikings sideline was surprised by Beebe’s performance, not after seeing the 5-foot-9, 165-pound rookie do the same thing against the team’s defensive starters in practice as a member of the scout team.

“You remember how (Stefon) Diggs was when he was a rookie?” coach Mike Zimmer said. “He’d come out here and catch balls all over the place and then we finally got him active. It’s kind of been that way with him. He just comes out here and beats guy.”

While he’s not the fastest player - clearly he didn’t inherit those genes from his father Don Beebe, a former NFL receiver who ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.20 seconds - Beebe makes up for it with his quickness.

“It’s definitely similar to when Diggs came into during OTAs and everyone was like, ‘Wow. This guy is going to be good,’ ” added fellow undrafted receiver Adam Thielen, who helped blaze a trail for Beebe to follow. “It was the same thing. He came to OTAs and started making plays all over the field. And then obviously through the season he’s been going against the (defensive) starters every single day and he’s been making plays.”

The Vikings marveled at his ability to seemingly always be open on routes, using his ability to get in and out of his breaks to create separation.

“He is really, really quick,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said. “You know the old saying, which I wasn’t sure I believed in, when guys say, ‘He is quicker than fast.’ Well, I believe it now.”

In fact, he was so good in training camp, some of his teammates were surprised it took so long for him to crack the active roster.

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“He came in here and right away felt like he belonged,” said third-string quarterback Kyle Sloter, who typically runs the scout team offense. “It’s not so much a thing where now after his first game he’s all of a sudden got all this confidence. He’s always had it. He’s been beating (defensive) starters all season. He’s been doing a great job for us ever since he got here.”

With emotions running high after his NFL debut, Beebe said the bye week came at a perfect time for him.

“I was able to play a game and get my feet wet and then had the bye week to kind of soak it in a little bit, because at first it didn’t seem real,” Beebe said. “It was kind of nice to have that bye week to go home and recuperate.”

Now he returns home to play he and his friends grew up watching.

“Everyone told me they’d be cheering for me and still cheering for the Bears to win,” Beebe said. “It makes sense, I guess.”

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