Buffalo won’t be magic for Stefon Diggs
ST. PAUL — There goes Stefon Diggs, with his Twitter followers and Monkey’s Paw to be the guy in the NFL’s Siberia. I’m sure he’ll love it there.
Rick Spielman and the rest of the front office must have split their sides laughing as soon as they sealed Monday night’s deal. Diggs and a seventh-round pick to Buffalo for four picks, including a first-rounder in next month’s draft, is a win-win for the Vikings, a steal and an epic troll.
Diggs last season made it clear, if not explicit, that he wanted to be traded. Spielman obliged.
Be careful what you wish for, Tiger.
If Diggs thought Kirk Cousins didn’t target him enough (94 times) last season, he should have fun playing with a quarterback who gas rushed for more than a combined 1,000 yards the past two seasons. If he wanted to be receiver 1A instead of Adam Thielen, well, he was last year and caught fewer passes (63) than he did when he was Plan 1B the previous year (102).
Diggs became suddenly mopey early last season, just four games into a five-year deal paying him $14.4 million annually. After vaguely indicating to his 285,000 tweeps that he wanted out of Minnesota, he ditched the following practice and declined to deny rumors that he wanted a trade.
The Vikings were 2-2 at the time, but Diggs had caught only 13 passes.
Seen often last season yelling at teammates on the sidelines, including trillion-dollar quarterback Cousins, Diggs didn’t respond well to adversity on a team that a) really faced a ton of adversity, b) played in one of the NFL’s best stadiums, c) trained in a peerless facility on a sprawling campus in Eagan, and d) played with a quarterback who had thrown him more than 2,000 yards of passes in the two seasons since he arrived.
Not to get all crazy here, but one has to wonder whether Stefon Diggs will be happy anywhere.
Does anyone else remember when the Cubs signed outfielder Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract? It was 2009, and Chicago general manager Jim Hendry might literally have been the only person watching baseball at the time who thought it was a good idea. Perpetually miffed, Bradley had recently blown out a knee while being restrained from rushing an umpire .
Never a happy person, Bradley finished his only season in Chicago suspended because of an interview in which he criticized the atmosphere around the club — which wasn’t that different from Diggs’ short, inexplicable rebellion last season.
Wait until things go sideways in Buffalo, and they will.
Josh Allen is preternaturally talented, but he’s young (next fall will be this third season) and reckless. In a first-round playoff loss at Houston last season, he ran 20 yards then tossed the ball backward to no one as he was being tackled, like a kid playing keep away.
Diggs got miffed when Cousins took a sack instead of trying a risky pass.
Look, Diggs is a terrific receiver, and will always be remembered here for his “Minnesota Miracle” catch-and-run that beat the New Orleans Saints in the 2017 playoffs. He has good hands and, perhaps more important, can get open. And let’s face it, the Vikings aren’t deep at receiver.
On the other hand, decent receivers are a dime a dozen. Not good ones, decent ones, and the Vikings still have Thielen and Kyle Rudolph to catch passes in what head coach Mike Zimmer wants to be a run-first offense built around Dalvin Cook.
Just about every football fan can remember a No. 2 receiver using a big season to get a No. 1 job somewhere else only to find it’s a different beast. Diggs is talented enough to get past that, but this still seems like a risk for Buffalo.
It’s not because Diggs isn’t good; it’s because he expects the change will make him happy.