Stefon Diggs says he pays no attention to the receiving milestones he is rapidly approaching. But ask Diggs if he knows the name of the last Vikings pass-catcher to reach 1,000 receiving yards and he’ll fire it at you faster than a JUGS machine.
“Sidney Rice,” the second-year wide receiver said Tuesday without hesitation.
That’s right. It has been seven years since Rice teamed with Brett Favre to total 1,312 receiving yards during the old gunslinger’s magical 2009 season. Since then, only Percy Harvin came close to 1,000 receiving yards, coming 33 short in 2011.
Diggs, with 806 receiving yards, is on pace for 1,128. And with 75 catches in 10 games, he is within striking distance of 100 catches. Only two Vikings, Randy Moss and Cris Carter, have done that, both twice.
“My main focus is on the next game and doing everything I can to win and put my team in a position to win,” the 23-year-old said. “If I have zero catches or 100 catches, I just want to win. So whatever it takes, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Diggs ranks fourth in the NFL in catches and 21st in receiving yards.
“You telling me those numbers, it’s the first time I’m hearing them,” he said.
Smith still out
Safety Harrison Smith, who left U.S. Bank Stadium on crutches following Thursday’s loss to Dallas after aggravating a sprained ankle, was not seen at practice Tuesday. Smith was originally injured in a victory over Arizona on Nov. 20, and was questionable for the Thanksgiving game against Detroit.
Center Joe Berger, who missed the Dallas game because of a concussion, practiced for the first time since being injured in Detroit. Cornerbacks Marcus Sherels and Mackensie Alexander also were back.
Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and linebacker Edmond Robinson sat out the session.
After missing the loss to the Cowboys, Sherels, the Vikings’ top punt returner and a key player on special-teams coverage units, has missed four games this season because of injuries to his wrist, ankle and now ribs.
Before this season, the former Gopher had never missed a game because of injury.
“It’s definitely good being back at practice,” he said. “I hadn’t missed any games up until this season, so it’s been kind of tough. … I’ve just tried to stay positive and get healthy as soon as possible.”
So far, so good
In his three games since replacing Blair Walsh, kicker Kai Forbath has made all six of his field-goal attempts. His only miss has been a blocked extra-point try.
“I’m just trying to take it one kick at a time, hopefully get some points when I get an opportunity, and trying to help the team out as much as I can,” he said.
Forbath went 3-for-3 on field goals against the Cowboys. The last of those three kicks, from 33 yards, ricocheted off the right upright but still made it through.
“[I was anxious] for a split second,” Forbath said. “Any time you see the ball going toward the upright, you get a little nervous. But I got a good bounce on that.”
Polls are open
Three Vikings players rank among the top five at their positions in fan balloting for the Pro Bowl, which is Jan. 29 in Orlando. Fan voting runs through Dec. 13. Players and coaches cast their votes on Dec. 16. Rosters will be announced Dec. 20.
Cordarrelle Patterson leads the NFC’s special-teams contributor category, which is different from return specialists. Smith is second overall among free safeties. And Linval Joseph is fifth overall among defensive tackles.
Staff writer Andrew Krammer contributed to this notebook.