MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An absence at practice has rumors swirling over one of the Minnesota Vikings’ star players.
Stefon Diggs did not practice with his team Wednesday, but the injury report listed the reason as “not injury related.”
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 2, 2019
Sources tell WCCO’s Mike Max he is making a grand stand to change the offense to trade him, because he knows the team needs him with not much depth at receiver — and because he has nothing to lose. During a WCCO Radio interview Thursday, WCCO’s Mike Max says the situation cannot be understated.
“Even if he comes out [Thursday] and practices, there’s been just too many things going on there. Him buzzing on social media, and talking about the Patriots, and some of that stuff, that conjecture. The fact that he knows that he has leverage because they don’t have enough good receivers right now, just he and Adam Thielen basically,” Max said. “I don’t think you can understate this one. I think this is a critical, critical week for the Vikings internally.”
Max talked to Diggs later in the day, and he says he missed practice because of illness.
“I can’t sit up here and act like everything is OK. It’s obviously not,” Diggs said. “What I can say is at this point [I’m] just trying to work through it.”
He’s got the cards. He can ask the offense to change so he gets the ball more, or ask to be traded. There is no down side. And he doesn’t deny the rumors of his discontent.
“I feel like there’s truth to all rumors, you know, I mean, no matter how you dress it up,” he said. “I won’t be saying nothing on it, I won’t be speaking on it at all, but there is truth to all rumors out there.”
This is a distraction the coaches cringe at, the organization worries about, and the fan base doesn’t quite understand.
“He has a right to say he’s not happy, trade me, but I kind of find it funny,” said a fan in downtown Minneapolis. “He’s like the golden boy. He made that amazing catch.”
“It’s not all about money, it’s about being a team player,” said another fan. “You got your guys around you, they depend on you, you know, and that makes everyone look bad.”
So they assume he will be on board this week.
“He’s been obviously here today and doing a great job, locked in at meetings and out here on the practice field,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
And he seems to want you to read between the lines.
“I love it here, you know,” Diggs said. “I’ve been here for five years. I love everything about the community, I love everything about my teammates, I love everything about my team. But, it’s all about right now will I be here or not, or do they want me here?”
The question is will he get what he wants. For some, it’s not on their radar, at least not this week.
“If they really want him, they’re going to do what they have to do to keep him,” said another fan in downtown Minneapolis.
Diggs says he has talked privately to the people who need to know in the organization. He is probably not just speaking for himself. Mike Max hears from sources there are others that want the offense changed, and he knows he has the most leverage to send a message.
Despite the growing rumors and Diggs’ frustration, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says the Vikings are adamant he’s not available for a trade – barring a massive offer.
The speculation comes after a quarterback Kirk Cousins, who struggled greatly in the game, apologized to wide receiver Adam Thielen over missed throws and opportunities.
Diggs, himself, had a pretty good game Sunday.