Stefon Diggs Was Completely Justified To Leave Minnesota

Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn (USA TODAY Sports)

It’s high time we take a moment to acknowledge that the Minnesota Miracle Man was 100% correct to get as far away from Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman, and the Minnesota Vikings as humanly possible. No, we’re not talking about Gordon Bombay.

Following a tumultuous 2019 season, Stefon Diggs had enough of Minnesota’s divisive, run-centric culture and decided to take matters into his own hands. And with Eric Kendricks and Brian O’Neill peeling back the curtain of what the reality was like at TCO Performance Center over the past couple of years, can you really blame Diggs?

From the moment Diggs burst onto the scene following his first career touchdown at Detroit in Week 8 of his rookie season in 2015, everybody knew that a star was officially born.

Diggs was a focal point of Minnesota’s offense after commanding a combined 40 targets over his first four NFL games. And his prominent role for the franchise never slowed down over his next two seasons. He totaled 291 targets over his first three seasons in purple.

As we all know, Diggs had his signature moment in the NFC divisional round of the 2017 playoffs. He walked off the New Orleans Saints with the most iconic moment in Minnesota Vikings franchise history.

There are no two ways around it. Diggs was a star in Minnesota. The sky was the limit when the Vikings finally got a high-level quarterback in free agency when they signed Kirk Cousins in 2018. With 2017 offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur leaving to take the New York Giants’ head coaching job, the pass-happy Vikings tasked John DeFilippo with overseeing Cousins, Diggs, and the offense in 2018.

Everything appeared to be working out according to plan to start the season. The Vikings entered the Week 10 bye at 5-3-1. DeFilippo’s offense had multiple weeks of explosions under their belts, including four different weeks with over 400 yards of total offense. Unfortunately for the Vikings, their record was a combined 1-2-1 in those games.

But Minnesota imploded down the stretch following the bye, and Zimmer fired DeFillipo after a Week 14 Monday night loss in Seattle. In typical Zimmer fashion, the point-the-finger-not-the-thumb head coach blamed the Vikings’ OC, even though Zimmer’s defense surrendered an embarrassing 214 rushing yards to the Seattle Seahawks on the national stage.

Zimmer and the Vikings immediately reverted to the Stone Age with DeFilippo gone. Over the final three games of the season, Diggs averaged 35.3 receiving yards per game, and the Vikings really Vikinged in a Week 17 win-or-go-home matchup against the Chicago Bears. They predictably lost in head-scratching fashion, ultimately ending their season at US Bank Stadium.

Diggs’ production was far from what he was capable of, and the Vikings failed him coming off the Minneapolis Miracle. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Diggs went through the motions in 2019 and unapologetically wore his emotions on his sleeve. He alienated the organization by having multiple unexcused absences from practice, and the Vikings continued with an archaic offense that ranked 30th in pass attempts. Minnesota’s star receiver averaged a career-low 6.3 targets per game, despite the Vikings signing Cousins to a three-year, $84 million contract and inking Diggs to a five-year, $72 million deal before the 2018 season.

To say that was not what Diggs signed up for would be an understatement.

The Vikings won a road wild card playoff game against the Saints despite the antiquated offensive scheme. However, when superstars officially reach that status, playing for a winning team is expected. And borderline-lucky wild card victories won’t cut it.

When a superstar like Stefon Diggs is on the roster, winning with a minimal role simply isn’t good enough. Superstars rightfully demand that they are the reason why their teams win, which is precisely what Diggs experienced in 2017 with the Minneapolis Miracle.

As the saying goes: Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.

The Vikings’ culture and offensive scheme led by Zimmer’s iron fist no longer allowed Diggs’ star to shine. The football world saw what Diggs wanted first-hand in his first season with the Buffalo Bills last year.

Diggs was undoubtedly why the Bills went to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1993. He led the NFL in receptions and yards, and was named a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career.

With the Bills capturing the AFC East for the second-straight season with Diggs in town, it’s important to remind folks that the Bills hadn’t won the division since 1995.

Again, Diggs is the reason why his new team is reaching heights that they hadn’t seen since Bill Clinton was in office, and people started learning about this funny little thing called the internet (tip of the cap for that one, Al Gore).

With the Vikings amid a top-down organizational overhaul, the Wilfs must recognize that what Spielman and Zimmer cultivated in Minnesota allowed this fiasco to happen.

And after Diggs (hopefully) goes on yet another playoff run with his new team, ownership will do everything they possibly can to prevent a situation like this from happening again. Zygi and Mark finally said enough was enough with the dismissal of the former GM and head coach, and Vikings fans can begin to take a glass-half-full approach towards the future.

But make no mistake, Diggs was right to take matters into his own hands and find a franchise that would appreciate him for the superstar that he is.

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