Stefon Diggs has the potential to be one of the best receivers to ever play for the Minnesota Vikings, if he can stay on the field long enough to achieve it.
Stefon Diggs is currently a key part of the Minnesota Vikings offense, however, his inability to make it through an entire season could be a problem.
Since breaking into the starting lineup as a rookie in 2015, Diggs has never played an entire 16-game season. Looking back at his career at the University of Maryland, he only played in 28 of a possible 38 games over three years—that’s only 73 .7 percent.
In four seasons with the Vikings, Diggs has played in 56 of a possible 65 regular season games—that’s a bit of improvement to 85.9 percent.
Known for running precise routes, he is currently considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked him second in contested catch situations with a 64 percent catch rate. In 2017, Diggs had perhaps the biggest postseason reception in franchise history during the Minneapolis Miracle.
He is a tremendous receiver and he was a great find by the Vikings, who selected him in the fifth round in of the 2015 NFL Draft. His inability to remain healthy and play a complete 16-game schedule could be a detriment to Minnesota’s offense though, especially this year with the team carrying only five receivers.
When the Vikings put out their first injury report for Week 1 this season, Diggs was listed with a hamstring injury and he sat out the team’s first practice of the week. He was only a limited participant during Minnesota’s other two practice sessions and on the final injury report, he was listed as questionable for the Vikings’ game against the Atlanta Falcons.
On Sunday, Diggs was active and in the starting lineup for Minnesota. In a game the Vikings easily won 28-12, Diggs finished with two receptions for 37 yards. While his individual performance might have not been impressive, recent history suggests his presence on the field is critical for the Vikings to get a victory.
The success of Minnesota is heavily correlated when Diggs plays. In the 56 games he has played, the Vikings are 34-21-1. That’s a 60.7 winning percentage. When he starts the game the percent improves slightly. In 49 starts the Vikings are 30-18-1— a 61.2 winning percentage.
The winning percentage jumps when Diggs catches a touchdown. His 24 career touchdown receptions in the regular season have come in 20 games. That’s slightly more than one-third of the games he’s played in. Minnesota is 14-5-1 in these contests—a healthy 70.0 winning percentage.
No doubt, the Vikings are a better team with Diggs on the field and they are almost unstoppable when he scores a touchdown.
Entering this season, he ranks 11th on the franchise’s list for career receiving yards with 3,530. Comparing Diggs’ four seasons in Minnesota to the first four seasons of the nine wide receivers ahead of him on the list adds credence to his importance.
While his 55 games ranks last on the list, Diggs’ 302 receptions ranks second on the list to only Randy Moss. Diggs is also fourth on the list in touchdowns with 24.
At 25, Diggs is the same age as Cris Carter when he joined the Vikings in 1990, giving him a four-year head start of Minnesota’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. If he plans to reach the very top, Diggs will likely have to improve his 86 percent rate of games played.