- Covered the 49ers, Raiders and Warriors for the San Jose Mercury News. She joined ESPN in 2017.
INDIANAPOLIS — Stefon Diggs is very much a part of the Minnesota Vikings’ plans for the 2020 season.
In the wake of recent trade rumors and speculation over the wide receiver’s future, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman dispelled the notion that the team is attempting to move on from Diggs.
“He’s not only a major part of our offense and a major part of our organization winning games, but he also does a lot of things for this organization off the field,” Spielman said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine.
“There’s no reason — the rumors or whatever you’re talking about — to anticipate that Stefon Diggs is not going to be a Minnesota Viking. When you have some of the offensive talent that we have, with him and [Adam] Thielen together, with Rudy [Kyle Rudolph] and Irv Smith, with Dalvin Cook and [Alexander] Mattison, we have a pretty good support cast around our quarterback.”
The trade rumors date back to the first month of the 2019 season, when Diggs was fined $200,000 for unexcused absences from practices and team meetings in the wake of a Week 5 loss at Chicago.
At the time, Diggs said he hadn’t “communicated anything” about a trade request but that there was “truth to all rumors” amid the assumption that he was unhappy with the state of the offense, which had shifted toward a run-first approach, and his role within it.
Recently, a handful of cryptic tweets and removed posts from Diggs’ Instagram account sparked further speculation that the wideout wants out of Minnesota.
Asked whether Diggs has expressed a desire to remain in Minnesota or be traded, Spielman said he had not spoken with the receiver’s representation. The Vikings will meet with the majority of the agents who represent their players throughout the NFL combine, which is expected to include Diggs’ agents, Adisa Bakari and Jeff Whitney of The Sports & Entertainment Group.
Spielman noted Tuesday that Diggs’ involvement in the offense was a direct correlation to the success the Vikings had last season. The 26-year-old receiver hauled in 63 receptions for a career-best 1,130 yards. He also scored six touchdowns.
Two years ago, Diggs signed a five-year extension that is set to keep him under contract in Minnesota through the 2023 season. Despite moments where the receiver appeared visibly frustrated on the sideline during games, Spielman rejected the notion that Diggs and others demanding the ball creates a predicament but is rather “what makes them the great players that they are.”
“I know how strongly our coaching staff feels about him, and when you have the ability to pair him and Thielen together on the field, and the tight ends that we have right now on the field, and you have the running back committee that we have on the field, we have some pretty good supporting cast around [Kirk] Cousins,” Spielman said. “Coming back, running the same system for the second year in a row, we don’t want to take a step back, and where we’re at with these guys, we want to keep all these guys and move forward. You want these guys on your roster.”
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