EAGAN — If you were using a meter to gauge the amount of tension at TCO Performance Center, the needle would be in the red. The non-injury absence of receiver Stefon Diggs at Wednesday’s practice now only adds fuel to the fire.
The Minnesota Vikings wide receiver, who did not perform his usual media duties last week or this week and declined to speak with the media after the team’s 16-6 loss in Chicago on Sunday, showed his agitation during the game by throwing up his hands and yelling on the sideline. Kyle Rudolph appeared to calm him down before he went back into the game and made several catches.
For the past week-plus there has been talk on social media of whether Diggs could be traded but there has not been a legitimate report confirming any interest that the receiver or the team would have in terms of a move. The team has also not made a statement dispelling rumors either.
One report from NBC Boston stated the Vikings won’t be trading Diggs.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) October 2, 2019
Against Chicago there were a number of times in which Cousins failed to find either of his two top receivers, Diggs and Adam Thielen. On his podcast, Cousins apologized to Thielen for an overthrow. The decision seemed to be in response to comments made by Thielen after that game about the overall frustration of a passing game that ranks 31st in the NFL.
This year he’s only been targeted 19 times this season, which is on pace for around half of the 149 throws in his direction in 2018.
On #Vikings WR Stefon Diggs: His frustration with the organization has been palpable. He was not at practice yesterday for non-injury reasons. Teammates are left wondering if he wants to be there. The team is adamant he is not available for a trade, barring some massive deal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 3, 2019
Cousins talked on Wednesday about how he has dealt with apparent frustrations from receivers.
“If you have 10 attempts in a game, it is what it is, you are not going to go [to a receiver] and say ‘hey man you should have had 18 catches today,’ you only had 10 attempts so we have to be realistic and look at this with honesty,” Cousins said. “Come on, it’s a small number of attempts at times. When it is a moment where you say ‘I had you there, I missed that one, my fault, that hurt us.'”
It isn’t the first time this calendar year that the receiver has shown some signs of agitations. Twice during training camp he had outbursts, once during the team’s night practice and another time after quarterback Kirk Cousins failed to find him on a deep route.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 2, 2019
There have been other smoke-fire type instances that have caused speculation into whether Diggs could want to find a new home. This offseason his brother shared a photoshop of Diggs in a Washington uniform. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported at that time there was no intention of moving the 100-catch receiver. He also missed several days of OTAs and gave a vague explanation pertaining to a housing issue.
Since Sunday there have been several social media posts that offer in the way of a statement, including an emoji face with the mouth shut.
As the Vikings head to New York to face the Giants this week, all eyes the next several days of practice. If Diggs does not play, the Vikings will play in New Jersey with rookie Bisi Johnson as the No. 2 on the depth chart.