Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs could become a casualty of the expected wholesale changes to the roster this offseason.
Stefon Diggs could find his future with the Minnesota Vikings in serious doubt as head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman look to revive the fortunes of the team’s offense and relieve some additional salary cap funds.
Trading Diggs would have seemed inconceivable at the start of last season for the Vikings. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is something the decision-makers within the organization will at least consider if they receive the right offer.
The playmaker has transformed himself from a fifth-round pick out of Maryland into one of the premier players at his position. Alongside Adam Thielen, the two are arguably the best receiving duo in the entire NFL.
Although there were obvious frustrations from Diggs’ perspective during the 2019 campaign, he still managed to rack up 1,130 receiving yards on just 63 catches while finding the end zone on six occasions.
His season also included a superb 17.9 yards per catch average, 20 catches of 20 yards or more, and eight receptions that resulted in gains of at least 40 yards.
The four fumbles aside, one would have difficulty finding many reasons from Diggs’ play that would warrant trade consideration. But there are other elements that Minnesota’s front office must explore before making a final decision on his future.
Diggs’ transition to the stereotypical diva wide receiver made significant strides this season, with his peculiar demeanor on the sideline and his criticisms of both the Vikings’ offense and quarterback Kirk Cousins when he was not being targeted as much as his talent supposedly demands.
One can look at this petulance in two ways. The first being that Diggs’ desire to win and his competitive streak sometimes enables his emotions to get the better of him, which he later regrets once the media comes calling in the locker room.
Secondly, it could indicate that Diggs is far from happy being the third option in an offense when running back Dalvin Cook and Thielen are healthy and he wants the whole NFL to know it when things are not going his way.
There is no smoke without fire and reports of Diggs wanting a trade earlier in the 2019 season were not actually denied by the player when asked. Instead, he decided to opt for the, “there’s truth to all rumors,” statement that hardly dispelled speculation from mounting in October.
During this time, Diggs also attempted to make sure everyone knew his focus was still on the team.
“My resumé and my persona kind of speak for themselves. I’ve never been the kind of guy to be like, ‘Me, me me.’ Wanting to have success and wanting to have team success is always what I’ve pushed.
My language will stay the same whether I’m given many opportunities or not a lot. That’s where we are. I know, as a man, who I am and what I bring to the table.”
After his comments, the Vikings started winning and things got better. But there is a lingering doubt that Zimmer is not going to readily forget about this and if push comes to shove, then there is no doubt he would side with a higher-character guy like Thielen instead of the more unpredictable Diggs.
There is also the financial aspect for Minnesota to consider, with Diggs’ cap hit in 2020 set to be $14.5 million. His current deal also doesn’t run out until 2024.
His production is still good enough for a team to commit financially to such a deal should a trade offer be made. Sending him elsewhere would relinquish some serious money for the Vikings to either replace him through free agency or strengthen other areas of the roster during a pivotal few months for their long-term future.
Players as electric and consistent as Diggs do not grow on trees and they are certainly not cheap. So any offer to acquire his services would likely have to involve a first-round draft pick and other potential pieces in order to possibly entice Minnesota into agreeing to a deal.
The Vikings are currently weak at the receiver position aside from Diggs and Thielen. So a contingency plan would need to be put in place prior to a potential agreement to avoid risking serious damage to the offense, the quarterback, and the running game.
It is a complex situation and one of many big decisions awaiting Minnesota’s front office in the coming months. Vikings fans will be waiting with bated breath to see what will eventually transpire.