Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been one of the best surprises of the season for the team this year. After being drafted in the fifth round and being inactive for the first two games of the season he has emerged as one of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite targets.
But Diggs’ production has dropped off some lately, as he has not recorded a 100-yard game for five weeks, yet he is consistently one of the most targeted players on the team. That means that Bridgewater is still looking for him on a consistent basis, but the team’s game plan just isn’t calling for him to go deep very often.
“Those first couple games we just had different game plans,” Diggs said. “That’s just part of football.”
Even though Diggs has found a lot of success early in his career, there is still a lot for him to learn. Last Sunday was proof of that against the Atlanta Falcons when he was called for a taunting penalty.
The rookie receiver has always been a fiery, competitive player and every once in a while his emotions can boil over a little too much. That showed in training camp when he got into it with a couple teammates after a closely contested play, but that is just typically what happens in training camp.
Sunday’s taunting call was more of an accident, though. He just caught a 16-yard pass and recorded a first down on third-and-8, and when he popped up he spun the ball on the ground to celebrate, not realizing where the defender that tackled him was.
“That’s never my intention to do,” Diggs said. “Especially give my team a flag or disrespect an opponent because we all grind to get to where we’re at. So it wasn’t an intent to it, was just a close call.
“Of course I didn’t know he was right there. I wouldn’t have did it if he was right there.”
The rookie said that he went up and talked to the official about the call to get an explanation and the official said Diggs put him in a tough spot. He understood that Diggs did not mean to taunt the defender, but by spinning the ball on the ground right by him the ref was forced to throw the flag.
Diggs understood, realizing the official had to make the call. He is just happy the 15-yard penalty did not hurt his team too much as they were still able to drive down the field and score a touchdown.
But he has learned from that mistake and will try to avoid putting the refs in tough situations from here on out.
“Just a learning experience as far as next time; I just hand the ball to the ref,” he said.