Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has come a long way in the past seven months, but personally and professionally.
During his five years with the Minnesota Vikings, Diggs was a superstar. He recorded 4,623 receiving yards, caught 30 touchdowns, and authored the “Minneapolis Miracle” – a historical sideline catch and run that pushed the Vikings to an improbable win over the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 NFC divisional round game.
Towards the end of his time in Minnesota though, Diggs began to voice his dissatisfaction with the direction that the Vikings were trending.
In October, Dan Berstein from msn.com, detailed how Diggs used to skip practices and also told media members, while he was with the Vikings, that he “can’t sit up here and act like everything is ok.”
Diggs’ discontent was highlighted even more the same day that he was traded to Buffalo on March 16.
According to NFL.com, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins signed a 2-year, $66 million extension that same day and Diggs took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.
Eight hours later, a deal between Buffalo and Minnesota was done. Bills general manager Brandon Beane sent Minnesota the No. 22 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, as well fourth-round, fifth-round, and sixth-round selections. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was also excited to see he had a new weapon at his disposal.
On Wednesday, Diggs admitted during a video conference call with media that even before the deal was done he was ready to turn over a new leaf and it took a lot of self-reflection during a tough time in his career.
“Whether I was staying or I was leaving, I felt like my process moving forward, after that year, I was going to handle things a certain kind of way,” Diggs said. “It just happens that I going to a new situation and I got to take those necessary steps and grow as a man.”
It’s paid off on the field for the former fifth-round pick out of Maryland. He’s currently second in the NFL with 906 receiving yards and he’s also caught four touchdown passes.
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Josh Allen Sees Diggs as a ‘Great Friend’
In the type of offseason that NFL players had, it might’ve been hard to build a connection between new teammates. But, from the time Allen met Diggs, both over the phone and in person, he said he could tell that Diggs wasn’t the same person that the media portrayed him to be in Minnesota.
“You’re thinking of a guy who’s portrayed by the media as a ‘diva’ and this and that, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Allen said about the first time he met Diggs in the offseason. “But he was there, on time, in the workout drills with us going through everything we were going through, trying to learn.”
Allen said later that day he and the rest of his teammates, who had met in Miami for an offseason workout with the rookies and returning players, went out to dinner as a team. While Allen thought that Diggs may have skipped out, Diggs was there wanting to be a part of everything, which impressed Allen.
“He wanted to be there and he was there,” Allen said. “It surprised me how much of a team guy he was from the start. He was willing to sacrifice his time to hang out with us and do things like that. Which I’m sure not a lot of people, in his situation, would do. But he’s been a great addition to this team and I can’t say enough about him.”
With the addition of Diggs, the Bills offense has reached new heights. Allen ranks seventh in the NFL in passing yards (2,871), the Bills average the 11th most yards per game (376.5) and the fourth-most passing yards (278.9) behind the Kansas City Chiefs (300.4), Atlanta Falcons (280.6), and their Week 12 opponent, Los Angeles Chargers (279.6). It’s only going to grow as well.
Stefon Diggs is On Track for a Career Year
Through 10 games, Diggs has put up ridiculous numbers for the Bills and has added another threat to what already was a dangerous receiving corps. He’s also on track to have a career year.
Through 10 games, he has a team-high 101 targets, 34 more than any other Bills receiver, and he’s averaging 90.6 yards a game. At that pace, Diggs could tally 1,450 receiving yards this season, which is 320 yards more than his career-high that he set last season. He’s also on track to catch 117 passes this year, which would be 15 more than his previous season-high.
Given how the offense has flowed this year though, Diggs could possibly top those numbers. He’s the second-most targeted wide receiver (101) in the NFL behind Keenan Allen (112) and he has the second-most receptions (73), behind Allen (81) as well.
If John Brown, who didn’t practice on Wednesday and has already missed two games, misses any more time, expect Diggs’ number to climb even higher.
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