MINNEAPOLIS — As has been the case since 2016, throwing the football to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen was a good plan on Sunday.
In the Minnesota Vikings’ 38-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the wide receiver combo — which has often been lauded as the best in the league — combined for 13 receptions and produced 224 of Kirk Cousins’ 333 total passing yards.
Just two weeks ago Diggs and Thielen both used the word “frustration” to describe their roles in the offense after combining for only 26 receptions in the first three games.
“I’ve just been staying patient, preparing each and every day,” Diggs said. “I feel like opportunity is going to come, you just have to be prepared.”
Following a week in which he skipped a Wednesday practice and was fined $200,000 by the team, Diggs only had three receptions for 44 yards. But on Sunday it was clear the plan was to take advantage of the weakened Eagles secondary, which was missing two starting cornerbacks. Diggs became the first receiver since Randy Moss to catch two 50-plus yard touchdown passes in the same game.
“You never really know when it’s going to come up because you never know the defense or an adjustment they are going to make,” Diggs said. “As far as starting fast early, it’s always a big thing, you want to hit the ground running whether it’s run or pass.”
Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Diggs’ showing wasn’t much different than what he’s come to expect and the Eagles’ defense gave him opportunities to make plays.
“Not really anything different than he normally does,” Zimmer said. “He got the ball a few more times. They left him singled out a few times and they had the safety come out of the middle a few times and gave us opportunities. When you do that and Kirk made a great throw — the one catch was a great catch — but Kirk made a great throw on it too.”
Cousins was heavily criticized after his slow start to the season but he has cleared 300 yards in back-to-back weeks. He hit a number
“Kirk has been the same quarterback, we just have to have success as a team,” Diggs said. “As far as former teammates and stuff like that…I guess Kirk answered all the questions. He played his balls off.”
Despite the bumps along the road, which have included two losses to NFC North opponents in games in which Cousins struggled mightily, the Vikings quarterback is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns, three interceptions and a 108.4 quarterback rating.
“He moved in the pocket, he made some great throws whether it was on the move or out of the pocket…he was pretty darned good today,” Zimmer said of Cousins’ performance.