Lambeau Field’s alumni box will be sporting one proud papa in a purple jersey come Week 2 if Chad Beebe joins Marcus Sherels and Adam Thielen as the next underdog to go from rookie minicamp tryout to making the Vikings’ 53-man roster.
“If that’s the case, look straight up from the 50-yard line and you’ll see me wearing my Beebe Vikings jersey,” said Don Beebe, who played nine NFL seasons and went to six Super Bowls in the 1990s, four with the Bills and two with the Packers. “He knows the odds. But you also have to look at the odds of how far he’s come so far.”
Chad, a 5-10, 185-pound receiver from Northern Illinois, was of 31 players who tried out during the three-day rookie minicamp. On Monday, the Vikings signed him, Southern Illinois cornerback Craig James, UNLV fullback Johnny Stanton and Western Illinois linebacker Brett Taylor. They released long snapper Nick Dooley, receiver Armanti Foreman, defensive tackle Caushaud Lyons and fullback Kamryn Pettway.
Chad is an inch shorter and the same weight Don was as a receiver. But Chad is a slot receiver with 4.5 speed and punt return skills, whereas Don was an outside receiver with 4.2 speed.
“Chad is a much better route runner with much better ball skills than I had,” Don said. “I could just run really fast.”
Don remembers Chad’s first day of tackle football in Aurora, Ill. The undersized 7-year-old had taken a vicious hit while shying away from contact. He had tears in his eyes riding home with dad, who comforted him by saying he didn’t have to play football just because his dad did.
Chad said he wanted to play. So Don encouraged Chad to get back in the same drill the next day and hit the player who had leveled him “as hard as you can.”
“He did, and I’ll never forget the smile he had on his face,” Don said. “From that day on, he never shied away from contact ever again.”
Chad was a 5-1, 107-pound freshman at Aurora Christian High School when he announced to Don, the varsity coach, that he wanted to play in the NFL.
“In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘No way,’ ” Don said. “The kid’s going to get killed.”
From that day on, father and son trained with the NFL in mind. As a 5-8, 158-pound senior, Chad had eight Division I offers.
For two weeks in June, 53 members of the Beebe clan will enjoy the family’s 48th annual fishing trip Brainerd. A month later, Chad will be in Eagan for training camp.
“Chad called me after minicamp,” Don said. “He said, ‘Dad, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun playing football.’ I know Minnesota is the right place for him. The odds don’t faze him. He loves football. He loves to fight. Those kids find places.”