The Vikings made a critical decision about the direction of their offense during the 2020 offseason. They traded their star receiver, Stefon Diggs, to the Bills in exchange for four draft picks, including a 2021 first-round pick.
Diggs had been with the Vikings since being a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He developed into one of the best receivers in the NFL, but his time in Minnesota ended on a sour note.
However, Vikings fans have forgiven him rather easily. That’s because Justin Jefferson has emerged as a star for the Vikings.
Jefferson was part of the return from the Diggs trade. The Vikings used the first-round pick that the Bills sent them to select Jefferson, and the LSU product quickly and seamlessly replaced Diggs.
Jefferson will hope to continue his dominance as the Vikings take on the Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football.” And who will line up across from him often during that contest? None other than Stefon Diggs’ brother, Trevon Diggs.
That makes it a perfect time to revisit the elder Diggs’ drama in Minnesota as well as the trade that sent him to Buffalo and gave the Vikings the ammunition to land Jefferson.
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Why did the Vikings trade Stefon Diggs?
The Vikings traded Stefon Diggs amid growing tensions between Diggs and the team. The relationship between the two parties became untenable during the 2019 season that reached a boiling point in October of that season.
Diggs was apparently frustrated with his role in Minnesota’s offense, which was beginning to employ a run-heavy approach. He averaged just 4.8 targets per game in his first five games of the season and had three games with 49 or fewer receiving yards.
Ahead of the Vikings’ Week 5 game against the Giants, Diggs chose not to attend practice or team meetings on Monday and Wednesday. He also was asked about trade rumors that surrounded him. He chose not to deny them.
“I feel there’s truth to all rumors no matter how dress you it up,” Diggs said regarding the rumor that he could be traded, per Pro Football Talk. “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.”
That did little to inspire confidence that Diggs was dedicated to the team. Nonetheless, the Vikings allowed him to play against the Giants but also fined him $200,000 for missing practice and team meetings.
Diggs stayed in Minnesota for the remainder of the season, but in the offseason, issues between Diggs and the Vikings popped up again, and he sent a cryptic tweet in mid-March that hinted at a new start.
it’s time for a new beginning.
— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) March 16, 2020
Four days later, Diggs was dealt to the Bills. He found success in Buffalo’s offense and later explained on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” exactly why he wanted to leave the Vikings.
“[The Vikings] were kind of gearing towards a run-heavy [offense] at that time,” Diggs said. “I didn’t know it going in. I didn’t know it was going to be that way. They only would allow me to do so much. In my eyes, it wasn’t going to be in the best interest of my career.”
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Stefon Diggs trade details
- Bills get: Stefon Diggs, Vikings’ 2020 seventh-round pick
- Vikings get: Bills’ 2020 first, fifth and sixth-round picks; 2021 fourth-round pick
The Bills acquired Diggs in exchange for a boatload of draft capital. The biggest prize of the package was their 2020 first-round pick, which ended up being the 22nd overall selection.
The Vikings later used the first-round pick on Justin Jefferson, a rookie receiver out of LSU. While the Bills looked like the winner of the Diggs trade at the time, the Vikings selecting Jefferson ended up making this a far more balanced trade.
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Justin Jefferson vs. Stefon Diggs since 2020
Jefferson has played in 22 career games with 20 starts since coming into the league in 2020. Diggs has also played in 22 regular-season games with the Bills in that same span.
Their stats in those games are remarkably similar.
|Player||Targets||Receptions||Receiving yards||Receiving TDs|
Even their accolades mirror one another. Diggs was an AP All-Pro in 2020 while Jefferson made the Pro Bowl. And while Jefferson set an NFL rookie record with an even 1,400 receiving yards in 2020, Diggs led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,535.