Stefon Diggs, seemingly happy after early-season angst, leads Vikings vs. Chargers

On Oct. 3, you wouldn’t have predicted a successful season for Stefon Diggs with the Minnesota Vikings.

You probably wouldn’t have predicted Diggs would be with the Vikings at all.

That day, Diggs refused to deny rumors that he wanted a trade.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

“There’s truth to all rumors,” Diggs said.

He was reportedly upset with the offense. He missed meetings and practice on Monday and Wednesday after a loss to the Bears and said it was because he was sick, but Minnesota’s injury report said he was absent due to a “non-football reason.”

Diggs and the Vikings have come a long way since then. They are still in the NFC North race, Diggs is a potential Pro Bowler and their season continues on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers.

A couple months after it seemed like the Vikings were falling apart, it seems they’re all one big happy family again.

Stefon Diggs gets involved

When Diggs’ frustration reached its height, the Vikings were 2-2. Coach Mike Zimmer wanted to get back to a run-heavy offense this season, but probably spun the dial too far. Minnesota was averaging just 169 passing yards per game, and that’s not going to get much done in the modern NFL.

The Vikings tweaked what they did. They started using play-action passing more, and while there’s no statistical evidence to prove that a team needs to run well to make play-action fakes more effective — basically, the fake itself is what works, not any previous success in the running game — the Vikings believe that Dalvin Cook’s big season running the ball has helped that part of the passing offense.

“When you run the football quite a bit, then when you do throw the ball, they’re going to be more aggressive, more down-the-field shots,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said, according to the Pioneer Press.

Whatever the reason, the Vikings are doing it more and taking more deep shots to Diggs, who has 997 yards on just 56 catches. His 17.8 yards per catch ranks among the league leaders. His seven 40-yard catches are second to only Mike Williams of the Chargers.

Winning and getting the ball will make any receiver happier.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates a touchdown. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates a touchdown. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Chargers should provide a challenge

The Vikings could also get Adam Thielen back from a hamstring injury, though that’s up in the air. Thielen was listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report.

Diggs has done fine carrying the load while Thielen is out. The Vikings have done well too. They’re 9-4, a game behind the Green Bay Packers in the division. The Packers and Vikings play in Week 16.

The Chargers won’t be a pushover, even if they have been tremendously disappointing this season. There’s still a lot of talent. They defend the pass well, so it won’t be easy for Diggs to get loose for more big plays.

The Vikings aren’t yet assured of a playoff spot. A loss Sunday would be a big help to the Los Angeles Rams, who are chasing the Vikings. If the Vikings do make the playoffs, it will be in large part because after a rough first month they decided to get Diggs involved again. Smiles all around.

– – – – – – –

Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

More from Yahoo Sports: 

What to Read Next