When the NFL schedule was first released, the Buffalo Bills‘ matchup against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 10 immediately stood out as it marked the first time wide receiver Stefon Diggs would face his former team since he was traded in March 2020.
In an exclusive interview with Heavy Sports in late September, Diggs made it clear that he has no ill will against the team that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, which makes sense since the Maryland alum has been thriving with the Bills. The 28-year-old has made the Pro Bowl each year since he landed in Buffalo and heading into Sunday’s matchup, leads the NFL with seven touchdown receptions. In eight games, Diggs has recorded eight receptions for 857 yards while averaging 14.3 yards per catch.
The veteran receiver is also thrilled to see the Vikings doing well, in particular, Justin Jefferson, who Minnesota drafted with the first-round pick they received in the Buffalo trade. Diggs gave Jefferson a special shoutout on Twitter following his breakout performance against the Packers in Week 1. In eight games, the LSU has tallied 59 receptions for 867 yards and three touchdowns.
When asked how he feels watching Jefferson become a big star in Minnesota, “It’s exciting, especially for me, you know,” Diggs said. “I’m a fan of JJ. He’s a hall of a player. He’s one of the best in the game right now, as well. He can get open and who doesn’t want to see a good old gritty after a touchdown?”
While Diggs may have choice words for certain opposing defensive players, he’s cheering for Jefferson. “I never lived in a space of wanting anything bad for them or wanting for anything bad for anybody they drafted… I’m never a hater. I always support people because if another person shines, it won’t dim your light at all. S***, it’s like they want me to be like, ‘Oh, I hate him over there. I hate everything about it.’ That s*** is not personal to me. I’ll be happy for guys to get off. I love a good receiver play.”
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen feels the same way. “I didn’t want it to happen because I had a great relationship with Diggs — still do to this day,” Thielen said on November 7. “I have a ton of respect for the person he is and the teammate he was to me. I was bummed out at first but at the same time I was happy for him.”
Easing the hurt of Diggs getting traded, the addition of Jefferson. “For us to get Justin in turn for that, and for him to come in right away and play at such a high level, it really made the transition a lot easier than I could have expected,” Thielen said.
Bills Backup QB Case Keenum May Get the Start Against the Vikings on Sunday
Diggs may not be the only Bills player facing his former team on Sunday, November 11 in Orchard Park. As of Tuesday, November 8, Bills superstar quarterback Josh Allen remains questionable to play after suffering an elbow injury against the Jets in Week 9, which means backup Case Keenum may get the start.
Pro Football Talk tweeted, “If for some reason Josh Allen (elbow) can’t go next week for Buffalo, it will be the Bizarro Minneapolis Miracle game, with Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs facing the Vikings.”
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there’s still a chance Allen takes the field. “There’s multiple doctors giving multiple opinions,” Garafolo said on Tuesday while noting that there’s no need to worry about Tommy John surgery. “That’s not usually a thing for NFL quarterbacks, so relax on that one. It is an elbow sprain… There’s hope in Buffalo that Josh Allen will be able to practice and play his way through this injury. But we wait for the final diagnosis.”
The possibility of Allen getting injured is the exact reason the Bills traded for Keenum during the offseason, and both Bills head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey spoke about the 34-year-old veteran staying ready during their respective press conferences on Monday.
“He’s been in multiple different systems and he’s seen a lot of ball,” Dorsey said, per Yahoo! Sports analyst John Wawrow. “So I think there’s some merit to having guys like that in your room that can come in and you’ve got a lot of faith in to step in and operate effectively.”
McDermott said of Keenum, “He’s a veteran player who has taken a lot of snaps and won games. Just his presence on our team carries an influence in a unique way. He knows his role. It’s been good to have him with us here.”
The Bills started out as 9.5-point favorites to beat quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings on Sunday, however, with Allen’s status up in the air, those odds have dropped to 7.5-point favorites.
Bills Rookie RB James Cook Will Face His Older Brother on Sunday
While Diggs told Heavy Sports that he doesn’t like to look ahead in the schedule, always focusing on the game ahead, Bills running back James Cook admitted that he immediately circled this Week 10 matchup after the schedule was released. The Georgia alum, whom the Bills selected with their No. 63 overall pick during the 2022 NFL Draft, revealed back in May that he’s most hyped for the Bills to face the Vikings, as he’ll have the opportunity to play against his brother, running back Dalvin Cook.
“I really looked for the Minnesota one,” Cook said on May 13, the first day of Bills rookie minicamp. The 23-year-old previously spoke about the possibility of facing his brother while attending the 2022 NFL Combine in March. “We going to get after it,” Cook said. “If I’m on the other side, I know he’s going to try to beat me, too, by running all over [my team], so I’m going to try to do the same.”