The Vikings won their first-round playoff game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in the Superdome, but there was some drama on the Minnesota sideline.
Star wide receiver Stefon Diggs wasn’t targeted in the first half and when that extended three plays into the third quarter Diggs had had enough. After Kirk Cousins’ pass for Bisi Johnson fell incomplete on a third-and-2, Diggs tossed his helmet toward the sideline as he left the field.
More from Diggs on the sidelines. pic.twitter.com/Y3NqR9CoR8
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 5, 2020
Diggs finished the Vikings’ 26-20 overtime victory with two catches for 19 yards on three targets, including a 9-yard reception at the Saints 1-yard-line that set up a third-quarter touchdown, and also gained 8 yards on two rushing attempts.
This was not the first time Diggs has shown emotion on or off the field — he disappeared for two days after the Vikings’ lost at Chicago in Week 4 — and his reaction Sunday drew plenty of negative comments on social media.
“I would say for anything, people who don’t want you (to) show emotion — if you don’t show emotion, you don’t care but if you show too much emotion … ,” Diggs said. “(But) don’t confuse passion with distraction because the guys on my team know me. We’re always ready and we’re going to do anything to get a win. People can formulate their own opinion as you watch. I care about my teammates and their opinion about me more than I care about the outside.”
Diggs, who led the Vikings in the regular season with 63 receptions for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns, watched as fellow wide receiver Adam Thielen became the star of the game on Sunday. He caught seven passes for 129 yards and his 43-yard catch at the Saints 2-yard line in overtime set up Cousins’ winning touchdown toss to Kyle Rudolph.
Diggs did have a big reception in overtime as he caught Cousins’ 10-yard pass on third-and-1 to give Minnesota a first down at its own 44.
“I wouldn’t say it’s tough,” Diggs said of being a primary focus of the defense. “Because your time will come. Opportunities are going to come. As a receiver, so many things have to go right for you to get the ball so I try not to get too caught up in that, I just focus on my job. I can’t control what coverage they play. They had a great game plan and came in playing some more two-high (safeties) — we anticipated some two-high, so that’s how I get it, that’s how it happens.”
And, clearly, that can sometimes leave a guy frustrated.