Rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs took his first snap in Week 4 and quickly became the Vikings’ top receiver.
Diggs caught six passes for 87 yards in his debut against the Denver Broncos while filling in for injured starting wide receiver Charles Johnson. He totaled 129 yards on seven receptions two weeks later to secure a starting job for the rest of the season.
“I feel like I had an OK year. Next year, I’m just going to have to do it again, prove myself again — again and again,” Diggs said while taking a break from cleaning out his locker on Monday at Winter Park. “That’s what great players do: continue to prove themselves.”
Diggs, a fifth-round pick out of Maryland, led the team with 56 catches, 746 yards and was second with four touchdown receptions. He was quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite receiver with 90 targets.
“Just scratching the surface,” Diggs said about his breakout season. “It’s just the beginning. I’m still young. I’ve got a lot of time to grow. … I’ll see you all next year and we’ll have a real conversation then.
“I learned some stuff on the field here and there that I’m going to work on while I’m gone, so I guess when we come back you’ll see the progress.”
Diggs totaled 87, 129, 108 and 95 yards, respectively, with a pair of touchdowns in his first four games, but averaged just 32.7 yards per game and two more touchdowns in the next 10 weeks.
“You haven’t been on tape, nobody sees what you can do, nobody sees how you play, so they don’t have anything to watch,” Diggs explained what might have played a role in his hot start. “As the season goes on, things didn’t get any different for me. I approached the week the same way and it will be the same way next year. I just look forward to coming back and playing more ball.”
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said “There’s so many different numbers of factors that go [into Diggs' production]. We played some pretty good receivers that had two catches in games that we played against them. Things happen throughout the course of a ballgame. I don’t know, you run the ball as much we do, you’re not throwing it 50 times a game. There’s a lot of different factors. But can he be [an explosive playmaker]? Yes.”
Diggs will return home to Maryland for the offseason and will take classes towards finishing his college degree. He also plans to learn how to play the piano.
“We’ve got lots of guys that can play, as you saw all year long. Young guys stepped up and played at a high level,” Diggs said. “I look forward to next year. … We’re going to better than ever next year.”