Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs says he was looking out for his own career.
Heading into Week 5 last season, Stefon Diggs was unhappy with his role in the Minnesota Vikings offense and he decided he was going to let it be known by skipping out on practice without letting any of his coaches know.
Diggs’ decision to make himself the center of attention inside the Vikings locker room resulted in him getting fined a significant amount of money by the team. He eventually returned to the team’s facilities and told the local media that he was absent from practice because he was dealing with a cold.
During a recent segment on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown”, Diggs said he doesn’t, “necessarily regret,” skipping that practice last season. But since he was fined a lot, the former Minnesota receiver did say that “maybe part of me (wishes) I had that money back.”
Stefon Diggs says Minnesota Vikings management wasn’t honest with him
During the segment on ESPN, Diggs revealed what led to him skipping that practice last year and basically what led to him seeking a way out of the Twin Cities.
"“(The Vikings) were kind of gearing towards a run-heavy (offense) at that time. I didn’t know it going in. I didn’t know it was going to be that way. They only would allow me to do so much. In my eyes, it wasn’t going to be in the best interest of my career.”"
Then Diggs revealed that he didn’t believe Minnesota was being truthful with him about his role in the offense.
"“People were kind of, I’m not going to say peeing on me and telling me that it’s raining, that’s a little bit harsh. But once you don’t have trust with the person. It’s hard to do business.”"
Diggs said that with the Vikings in 2019, he was “in a very, very dark place,” and he “wasn’t in a great place mentally.” But he went on to say that he was able to learn a lot about himself during his last season in Minnesota.
The segment on ESPN mentioned that Diggs, now a member of the Buffalo Bills, was unhappy after only averaging four targets per game during the first four weeks of the 2019 season with the Vikings. Conveniently, it wasn’t mentioned that he finished with seven targets in two of these four matchups.
And in the other two games from this group of four, Minnesota blew out their opponents by a combined score of 62-26, so they didn’t need to run a lot of pass plays.
The segment also made sure to include the fact that Diggs finished 2019 with his fewest catches since he was a rookie but then left out the part about him setting a career-high for receiving yards in a season.
The notion that Diggs didn’t know Minnesota was going to be a run-heavy offense in 2019 is extremely hilarious. He acts like he was caught off guard when anyone who has been following the Vikings during the Mike Zimmer era knows that the head coach has always wanted his team’s offense to be built around the rushing attack.
Minnesota finished with the second-most rushing attempts in 2017 when they went 13-3 and made it all the way to the NFC Championship. Then the Vikings offense got pass-happy under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in 2018 and Zimmer made it clear multiple times throughout the season that he wanted the team to run the ball more like they did in 2017.
DeFilippo didn’t listen to Minnesota’s head coach and it resulted in him getting fired before the 2018 season even ended.
Then Zimmer made Kevin Stefanski his offensive coordinator and the Vikings brought in Gary Kubiak to be an offensive adviser. Kubiak’s offensive scheme is known for its zone-blocking rushing attack and Minnesota wanted to implement his methods into their offense.
Despite all of this happening, Diggs still claims that he didn’t know that the Vikings were looking to build their offense around the run game.
The problem is that the former Minnesota receiver got a taste of high pass targets in 2018 when DeFilippo was calling the plays and he obviously liked getting the ball in his hands more. But the Vikings weren’t winning with a more pass-centric offense, so changes needed to be made, and Zimmer wanted to go back to what worked well in 2017.
Justin Jefferson might end up being a better receiver for the Minnesota Vikings than Stefon Diggs, who is now with the Buffalo Bills.
Look, Diggs wants the ball in his hands as much as possible because he believes he has a lot to offer for a team. That is completely fine and now, he’s getting just that during his first season with the Bills as he’s averaging 10 targets per game.