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Last season’s leader in receiving yards, Stefon Diggs, once led an upper echelon passing attack for the Minnesota Vikings — alongside quarterback Kirk Cousins and fellow receiver Adam Thielen.
In the midst of a 10-6 season in 2019 — his final with the Vikings — Diggs began to feel that his role was diminishing in the offense and aired out his complaints over the team and quarterback. Some of his negative sentiments spread among Vikings teammates. Adam Thielen joined in with his own complaints on the team, around the same time as Diggs.
While Minnesota’s problems have long been rooted in the QB position, Cousins’ inclusion certainly boosted production for his receivers, and the feedback from Diggs began to sound more like conjecture. Also considering that Diggs never eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards until Cousins’ arrival.
Toward the end of his tenure with the Vikings, Diggs was adamant on getting pushed out of town, giving him a soured reputation with fans around the league.
He spoke of his publicized discontent in Minnesota with the Bills media this week.
“Coming from my old team — I hate talking about old stuff — but up to me wanting to leave and wanting to go to another place, I was a great teammate,” commented Diggs. “It wasn’t until I wanted to do something else is when I became a bad teammate. So as far as when things aren’t going good, you know, it’s all good until it’s not good.”
Diggs earned career highs in receiving yards (1,535) and receptions (127) in 2020, led by Buffalo QB Josh Allen’s MVP-type season. This year he will join Allen as a captain on offense — a first for Diggs — which has made the receiver reflect on his turbulent exit from Minnesota with a different perspective.
“I always tried to play with a chip on my shoulder and lead my team the best way I know how. Coming here I had a fresh start. It was fair for people to make their assumptions or their assessments from the outside looking in. That’s fair. I just look at it as in, when I get there I’ll show them who I am and we’ll go from there. As far as my new chapter with my new team, things are going pretty good and trying to keep it that way.”
Though Diggs may need to reconcile with Vikings fan, and possibly Cousins, it sounds like the 27-year-old All-Pro receiver is ready to put his negative experiences behind as he embraces a leader’s role.
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Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela