As the Vikings began Organized Team Activities last week, wide receiver Stefon Diggs remained on the East Coast for two days before joining the team Thursday.
“I had some house problems,” he said to a reporter who inquired about the reason for his absence. “You know how adults are.”
Now that he’s back in Minnesota, Diggs is in the middle of another maintenance project of sorts — one that’s become an annual routine. He is playing for his fourth different offensive coordinator, and learning his fourth different scheme, since the Vikings drafted him in 2015.
The Vikings’ offensive personnel remains relatively stable, after years of changes at the quarterback position, and the Vikings’ newest flavor of the West Coast offense has its roots in the one Kirk Cousins operated in Washington. Still, Diggs couldn’t return to Minnesota expecting things to be exactly as he had left them.
“Everybody does minor tweaks — as far as how things are run and timing,” Diggs said. “As far as doing it the way he wants it, it’s going to be the fun part. [It’s] the usual. Since I’ve had the opportunity to have different OCs and different learning processes, number systems [for routes] and all that, I think I’ve got somewhat of an advantage. I just take it in stride.”
Diggs said he spent the offseason “focused on my body” while training in the Washington, D.C., area after “a couple nicks and injuries last year.” In his return for OTAs, he’s come with a bit of perspective as the Vikings embark on reworking their offense again.
“I feel like big-picture, everybody wants things to happen so fast,” Diggs said. “But Kirk was only here for six months or something like that. At one point, I was with Teddy [Bridgewater], and it took a while to get adjusted. I was new to the league, and he was new, too. Having a veteran quarterback that’s been around the game, I trust him. I look forward to building that relationship and just moving forward. We’ve kind of got a bad taste in our mouth from last year; we had high goals like everybody else, but things didn’t go that way. [This year], same goals — we’ve just got to handle it differently.”
Smith stands out
Tight end Kyle Rudolph was absent from practice Wednesday because of a charity appearance at the Memorial tournament in Ohio, and tight end David Morgan remained out because of injury, leaving second-round pick Irv Smith with most of the Vikings’ first-team snaps at tight end. At one point during a drill, Smith beat Trae Waynes down the sideline on a play-action pass, before Cousins underthrew him.
“I think that’s why you’re a high draft pick — because you can really roll,” Cousins said. “… There’s no doubt that down the sideline, on a play like that, Irv can run. The fact that I left the ball short probably emphasizes it even more, that I have to trust him and really believe that he can roll.”
Said offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski of Smith: “He understands that he has a ton of work to do in the run game and the pass game, and certainly, we thought enough of him with his skill set to get him up there. You could see today, we just kind of put him in some spots where he can go make a play.”
• Nose tackle Linval Joseph did not take part in team drills after offseason surgery, while defensive end Tashawn Bower (foot/ankle) and linebacker Reshard Cliett remained out. Long snapper Austin Cutting was not at practice; the seventh-round pick is attending his graduation ceremony from the Air Force Academy.