Stefon Diggs

NFC North Notes: Diggs, Lions, Packers

There’s been a lot of drama with the Vikings this season, as their offense has once again been a disappointment. Minnesota bounced back with a big win over the Giants in Week 5, but it’s unclear if that will be enough to smooth things over. Adam Thielen publicly called out Kirk Cousins, and Stefon Diggs has made it clear he hasn’t been happy with his role. There’s been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Diggs, but it appears it’s little more than just speculation. Speaking recently on a WEEI radio appearance, Peter King of NBC Sports said he’s been told it’s “highly unlikely,” that Diggs gets dealt.

Just earlier today we heard that the Patriots were hoping to pry Diggs away, but it sounds like they’ll have to look elsewhere for receiver help. Diggs is still only 25, under contract through the 2023 season, and the Vikings don’t have any clear replacement for him on the roster, so it makes sense why they’re insistent on keeping him. Minnesota is attempting to establish a run-first identity in 2019, and Diggs has grown frustrated with his usage. The Maryland product has only topped three catches once this season, and he only has put up more than 50 yards on one occasion as well.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • The Lions have been doing something pretty unusual with their offensive line this year. Instead of sticking with their five-man unit at all times for chemistry purposes, Detroit has been rotating three guards in all of their games. Graham Glasgow has been starting at right guard, Joe Dahl has been starting at left guard, and Kenny Wiggins has been mixing in for series’ here and there at both positions. The system was the idea of offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “There came a time, obviously in that first week (of the season that) I’m sitting here trying to agonize over who’s winning the starting job and all that stuff there,” Davidson said. “To me, it was clear who owned the starting jobs, but I also believed that Kenny Wiggins earned the right to be on the field and it’s just a way to be able to get that done also.” As Birkett points out both Glasgow and Dahl have received strong marks from Pro Football Focus, but the team doesn’t plan on changing things anytime soon. The Lions have gotten off to a better start than just about anybody expected, so it’s understandable why.
  • The Packers will be playing Detroit on Monday Night Football in a pivotal divisional game, and they’ll be a little shorthanded. We already know they’ll be without top receiver Davante Adams, but they also just ruled out starting safety Darnell Savage, who picked up an ankle injury in their win over the Cowboys. The rookie first-round pick from Maryland has been an every-down player for Green Bay, so it’s a big loss. Fortunately for them, starting center Corey Linsley has cleared the concussion protocol and will play here after leaving the Dallas game early.
  • Speaking of Monday Night Football injuries, Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels will have to wait a bit longer for his revenge. The longtime Packer was released in July and signed with Detroit shortly after, but he’s going to miss his second straight game with a foot injury. Daniels signed a one-year, $9.1MM deal with the Lions just two days after getting cut.

Vikings’ Stefon Diggs On Trade Talk

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is generating trade interest, but he doesn’t necessarily want to be shipped out. On Wednesday, Diggs clarified his earlier comments regarding his dissatisfaction with the club.

[RELATED: Stefon Diggs Drawing Trade Interest]

I never said I was unhappy or uncomfortable with my role. I said I wanted to win, that was what my frustrations were and that’s where it kind of got misconstrued last week,” Diggs said (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press).

Diggs skipped multiple practices in Minnesota and has been fined upwards of $200K. In the midst of a five-year, $72MM extension, Diggs can take the hit, but he might not be happy about it.

Either way, Diggs seems to have calmed down, perhaps because the Vikings topped the Giants 28-10 last Sunday. Next up – a big matchup against the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Stefon Diggs Generating Trade Interest

Although Vikings WR Stefon Diggs will play today, it seems the tension between player and team is still high. We heard that Minnesota had fined Diggs for missing practice and skipping some meetings this week, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweets that the fine total has now exceeded $200K.

Diggs, who signed a five-year, $72MM extension in July 2018, can certainly afford the fines, but it’s still a hefty sum that is not likely to fill the Maryland product with warm and fuzzy and feelings towards the Vikings (but, while the team would be entitled to void Diggs’ $40MM in guarantees, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Vikes have not taken that nuclear approach). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that multiple teams have tried to capitalize on the discord by reaching out to Minnesota with trade inquiries, but the Vikings have remained adamant in their refusal to trade their disgruntled star this year.

However, Schefter suggests that some teams do believe Minnesota would change its stance if the offer was good enough, and the club could revisit trade talks in the offseason. Diggs is an electric playmaker who could add a charge to most any offense, and given the ever-growing market for wideouts, his current deal doesn’t seem particularly cumbersome.

The Vikings, who are currently 2-2 and in last place in the NFC North, will look to get back above .500 against the Giants this afternoon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Stefon Diggs, Vikings

Sunday, 8:29am: Diggs is expected to be active today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

Saturday, 2:46pm: Mike Zimmer has not committed to Stefon Diggs playing Sunday against the Giants, but the wide receiver did make the trip to East Rutherford, N.J., Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com tweets.

It would be a major upset if Diggs did not play for a Vikings team coming off a loss — and one rather thin at wideout beyond its highly paid starting duo. Diggs’ status resided as a talking point in recent days after the fifth-year receiver missed practice for a non-injury reason this week. He is believed to be at odds with the Vikings and did not exactly deny reports of unrest.

The Vikings fined Diggs for missing practice and skipping some meetings this week, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), who adds this is not the first instance of Diggs missing meetings this season. Although no known trade request has emerged, this story does not appear to be over.

Diggs agreed to a five-year, $72MM extension and followed that up with a four-year, $64.8MM re-up for Adam Thielen. Neither’s roles have been as prominent for the 2019 Vikings, who have become the NFL’s most run-oriented offense. Minnesota’s 99 pass attempts are the fewest of any team that’s played four games this season. That has caused some issues from the receivers. After a 102-reception 2018 season, Diggs has just 13 catches through four games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Diggs, Bears

Stefon Diggs and the Vikings are at odds, and while Minnesota reportedly doesn’t have any plans to trade the star wideout, Diggs added a bit of fuel to the fire today when speaking to reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press“I feel like there’s truth to all rumors no matter how dress you it up,” Diggs said. “I won’t be saying nothing on it. I won’t be speaking on it at all. But there is truth to all rumors, I guess.” Diggs want to play against the Giants on Sunday, but head coach Mike Zimmer said “we’ll have to see” when asked about Diggs’ availability for Week 5, as Chad Graff of The Athletic tweets.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is still hoping the situation “blows over” in due time, reports Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Per Fowler, this is not the first time Diggs has been upset with the Vikings’ “team dynamics,” although it’s not clear — at least publicly — what exactly Diggs is frustrated by at the moment.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith said earlier today that he’ll play against the Raiders in Week 6, and Smith has indeed traveled to London with his team, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Smith has been dealing with an unspecified personal issue and reportedly hadn’t been “acting like himself ,” per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. It’s unclear exactly what is or was going on with Smith, but the Bears have been tight-lipped about the situation. Nevertheless, the 2018 first-round pick appears ready to suit up against Oakland on the other side of the pond.
  • While Smith figures to be available on Sunday, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and backup offensive lineman Ted Larsen are both dealing with injuries and did not make the trip to London, the Bears announced. Gabriel 75 yards and three touchdowns for Chicago in Week 3, but missed last Sunday’s game with a concussion. Larsen filled in for Kyle Long at right guard last week, but Long is expected to start in Week 5 after recovering from a hip injury.
  • In case you missed it, the Packers claimed ex-Ravens edge rusher Tim Williams off waivers.

Vikings’ Stefon Diggs Returns To Practice

The Vikings and Stefon Diggs may be at odds with each other, but it seems that they’ve reached some sort of understanding. On Thursday, Diggs returned to practice, according to head coach Mike Zimmer

Diggs, who signed a five-year, $81MM extension with the team, reportedly has some beef with the team. The club, officially, said that Diggs was absent from practice for non-injury reasons. The buzz has been that it stems from his dissatisfaction with the club, though the exact cause of that rift is not quite clear.

In any event, Diggs seems ready to go for this weekend’s game against the Giants. Assuming he plays, he’ll try to help his club improve to 3-2 on the year.

I want to be here. I love being here,” Diggs said in 2018, before inking a whopping new deal with the Vikes. “I love being a part of the organization. They took a chance on me early on so I love it here as far as where we’re at. … Hopefully, we can get some things done and we’ll see how it goes.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Stefon Diggs At Odds With Vikings

The Vikings and Stefon Diggs are at a crossroads. Diggs has been absent from practice due to non-injury reasons and a spat between the organization and the wide receiver could be at the root of the issue, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears. 

The Vikings are adamant that they will not trade Diggs, Rapoport says, but it seems that something will have to change, one way or another, for the two sides to move forward. Teammates aren’t sure whether Diggs actually wants to be in Minnesota and he’s nowhere to be found as the Vikings are two days away from facing the Giants at the Meadowlands.

The writing has been on the wall for some time. Diggs, who is in the midst of a five-year, $81MM extension inked in 2018, has not talked to beat writers in about two weeks.

He also might not be the only frustrated wide receiver in Minnesota. Adam Thielen recently complained about the one-dimensional nature of the Vikings offense, prompting quarterback Kirk Cousins to apologize. It remains to be seen whether Cousins will try and mend fences with Diggs in similar fashion, or if a mea culpa would even quell the divide.

Diggs has 13 catches for 209 yards with one touchdown through four games after hauling in seven passes for 108 yards in a losing effort to the Bears. Last year, he set new career highs with 102 catches for 1,021 yards and nine TDs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Giants, Diggs, Easton

Eli Manning collected his $5MM roster bonus Saturday afternoon, essentially ensuring he will be with the Giants for a 16th season. This confirms what has been reported throughout the offseason. Less certain: whether or not this will be the year the Giants draft a true option to be Manning’s successor. After early indications that move would be coming this year, that now appears far from a locked-in strategy. Not only are the Giants not believed to be looking to package their Nos. 6 and 17 picks to move into the top five for a quarterback, sources informed The Athletic’s Mike Lombardi the team is not enamored with any of the passing prospects in this year’s draft (subscription required). This follows an SNY report that pegged the Giants as less bullish on Dwayne Haskins, the most popular Giants mock pick at this point. Issues with Kyler Murray‘s height also may persist among Giants brass, though that may be a moot point given that Murray could be the No. 1 overall pick.

The Giants may be looking to solidify their defense, which is full of holes, instead of using a first-round selection on a quarterback. Shifting away from the Giants, here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Interesting NFL art emerged this weekend. Stefon Diggs‘ brother shared an image of the Vikings wide receiver in a Redskins uniform, but this does not appear to be an indication of another wide receiver trade. A Vikings source emphatically informed ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter there has been no talk of dealing Diggs to Washington (Twitter link). (A Redskins source informed ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini, via Twitter, they may not be in position to make such a move.) The Diggses are from Maryland, which may be at the root of this Photoshop job.
  • Three teams remain in the mix for Nick Easton, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). The Vikings submitted an offer to their two-year starter, who also visited the Saints. These two comprise two-thirds of the interior lineman’s suitor list, with an unnamed third team also in the mix, per Tomasson. Easton wants to make his decision by Monday. It’s possible Max Unger‘s retirement prompts the Saints to make a stronger push for Easton, but they have two veteran salaries and Andrus Peat‘s fifth-year option price allocated to their offensive line.
  • In case you missed it, the Rams are set to host five-year Jaguars starter Blake Bortles on a visit.

Vikings Promote WR Chad Beebe

With Stefon Diggs ailing, the Vikings have added some reinforcement at wide receiver. ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reports that Minnesota has promoted wideout Chad Beebe from the practice squad.

The undrafted rookie out of Northern Illinois joined the Vikings shortly after this past year’s draft. Beebe ended up having a standout preseason for the Vikings, hauling in nine catches for 95 yards and two scores. After being cut at the end of the preseason, the wideout joined the team’s practice squad, where he’s spent the entire campaign.

According to Cronin, Beebe has been praised by the coaching staff for his work on the practice squad. The 24-year-old provides a bit of a different look at wideout, as he contributed primarily as a slot receiver throughout his collegiate career. Beebe also saw some run as a punt returner throughout the preseason, but Cronin cautions that he’d only contribute to special teams on “an emergency basis.”

Diggs didn’t practice this week as he recovers from a rib injury. The wideout said he expects to play against the Lions tomorrow, but he was ultimately listed as questionable on the final injury report. While today’s move could solely be for insurance, it may also be a sign that Diggs won’t end up suiting up.

Even if Diggs does miss time, Beebe would likely slide in at the bottom of the Vikings depth chart behind Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Aldrick Robinson, and Brandon Zylstra.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

WR Notes: Diggs, Decker, Doctson, Broncos

The Vikings now have three of their four major offseason extension candidates signed long-term, with Anthony Barr being the only member of the contract-year quartet (Barr/Stefon Diggs/Eric Kendricks/Danielle Hunter) still attached to a rookie contract. Diggs was the latest to sign, and some details of that five-year, $72MM extension have emerged. Of the $40MM in guarantees, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports (on Twitter) that only Diggs’ $15MM signing bonus and $1.9MM 2018 base salary are fully guaranteed at signing. The remainder of the wide receiver’s guaranteed money will depend on his roster status.

If Diggs is on the Vikings’ roster by the third day of the 2019 league year, all of his $8.9MM 2019 base becomes guaranteed. The same structure exists for the 2020 and ’21 league years, with Goessling reporting Diggs’ 2020 base of $10.9MM becomes fully guaranteed on Day 3 of that league year and $3.3MM of his $10.9MM 2021 salary will be guaranteed if he’s with the Vikes on Day 3 of that league year.

Here’s the latest from some teams’ pass-catching situations, shifting to more contract talk.

  • Eric Decker‘s one-year Patriots agreement comes in at just shy of $2MM. The former Broncos, Jets and Titans wideout signed for $1.9MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). He has a chance to earn up to $2.5MM, per Rapoport, via incentives tied to his reception count. Decker suited up in Patriots gear for the first time Saturday. Now 31, Decker is entering his ninth season.
  • While Emmanuel Sanders has yet to relinquish his status as the Broncos’ No. 2 wide receiver — a role he inherited from Decker in 2014 — the team looks to have found a No. 3 target at long last. Having failed to find a capable cog for that job since Wes Welker‘s exit, the Broncos appear to be zeroing in on Courtland Sutton as their No. 3 receiver, Lindsay Jones of USA Today writes. The SMU product’s drawn rave reviews throughout Broncos camp, and Jones notes the second-rounder’s all but locked up the WR3 job going into preseason play. Fourth-round pick DaeSean Hamilton, viewed as a superior route-runner than the 6-foot-3 Sutton, is expected to play a role as well. But Sutton will likely start out as Denver’s third option. The rookies’ work will be interesting, given the non-guaranteed contract-year salaries for the Broncos’ longtime starting wideouts in 2019.
  • Josh Doctson has suffered another injury, a shoulder setback, but contrary to a previous assessment, the Redskins target won’t be out too long. NBC Sports Washington’s Brian Mitchell, a longtime Redskins return man, said Doctson also needed to have his heel drained earlier this week. Jay Gruden, though, refuted that. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a heel being drained,” Gruden said, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “So I don’t know where that came from. That is not true, but he’s going to do a little something out here today. We’ll see. I’d be surprised if he went full-go, but he did not have his heel drained.” Doctson has struggled to stay healthy during his NFL career. The 2016 first-rounder missed all of his rookie year because of Achilles trouble and encountered hamstring issues last year.