Vikings WR KJ Osborn after saving man from burning car: 'I'm so happy the guy is alive'

Call it divine intervention. Call it being in the right place at the right time. Call it whatever you want, but Minnesota Vikings receiver KJ Osborn is being called a hero after helping save a man’s life Sunday night in Texas.

Osborn, who just finished his fourth season with the Vikings, was on his way home in an Uber after a workout with his trainer. His head down on his phone, a driver sped past and crashed head-on into a pillar under a bridge. The car burst into flames.

After talking about the incident on Adam Schefter’s podcast on Tuesday, Osborn spoke with reporters Wednesday morning via Zoom.

Osborn’s driver, Abdul, immediately drove them up to the crash scene. Two other witnesses, named Arthur and Rita, were the only other people in sight. Conflicted over the thought of risking his own life to save a stranger’s, Osborn ran to the car with Abdul. They were able to get the driver out of the car, and Osborn carried the man away before first responders could render aid.

"We were the only option and that’s why I applauded Abdul so much. Even if I was the driver, I can’t say 100 percent that I would’ve stopped," Osborn said. "If I did stop, I don’t know what I would’ve done."

Osborn said as they approached the vehicle, flames were bursting and tires popping. At that point, he was no longer an NFL athlete. He was a Good Samaritan.

"I was doing it out of the kindness of my heart and to be genuine. No football or game mattered at that point, I was just trying to be a good person," Osborn said. "I would want somebody to do that for my brother, my dad or uncle or whatever. It is humbling and I’m grateful that I was able to be there. I haven’t been trying to make this story about me, I’m so happy the guy is alive. I had help, I’m definitely grateful I was able to be there."

Osborn said he recorded the entire event on his phone, up until he had to carry the driver to safety. He says it was probably a little more than three minutes, but "definitely felt way longer." He has no plans to release the video, though he did acknowledge what happened earlier this week on social media.

In the days since the crash, Osborn has had friends of the victim reach out via social media to offer their gratitude for saving the man’s life. In a set of circumstances that’s hard to fathom, Osborn was in the right place at the right time.

He had never previously been to Austin, and is only there because his trainer moved there. He’s about to continue training back in Miami, and actually missed the first Uber he requested. There’s a chance he might never have seen the crash, let alone be close enough to offer help.

At the end of the day, he says he’s just a person like anybody else and doesn’t feel this will change who he is. If it wasn’t for football, he’d be pursuing a degree in criminal justice and work with the FBI or Secret Service.

Instead, the 2020 fifth round pick has 110 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in 43 career games. He hopes his latest story will inspire others. 

"I feel like I’ve always prided myself on being a leader, a stand-up guy. When you see live bullets and you see this car on fire, it’s obviously a lot different when you’ve got a lot to risk. I don’t think it’s changed me as a person, but I can say that just the experience has kind of inspired me to continue to inspire others and be a leader and a role model," Osborn said. "The fact that people look up to me inspires me to be myself every day. It wasn’t just me, those three are heroes."