Despite finishing second among rookie wide receivers in receiving yards last year, Stefon Diggs was disappointed with his performance.
First-round pick Amari Cooper led all rookies in 2015 with 72 catches for 1,070 yards, but Diggs was second with 720 yards and fourth with 52 catches. But when asked about his “great” rookie season, he wouldn’t exactly classify it as great.
“As far as my rookie year, I really don’t want to talk about it. I was disappointed in myself. Everything is in the past. I look forward to this near year and everything moving forward,” he said.
“I knew I was better than that. I knew everything I did … moving forward I want to be a lot better.”
This year, Diggs isn’t coming into training camp as a rookie fifth-round pick trying to prove himself. He’s a returning starter.
Even there, though, he isn’t taking it easy on himself.
“I’m still one of the guys trying to prove myself. No matter, I still treat it kind of the same way I treated last year, but just crank it up a notch,” he said. “Going into your second year, there should be a lot of growth. There should be a lot of maturity. I’m still trying to prove myself each and every day, not only to myself but to my guys.”
A year of experience, an increased comfort level and the opportunity to start from the outset should help Diggs in his second year.
“In the beginning, of course, when you’re a rookie you haven’t played a game yet so you don’t know what it’s like,” he said. “I have been in a game before. I know what it’s like to be out there, so practice you know you’ve got to prepare the right way and do what you’re coached to do just so you can do things right on Sundays.”
[JOIN THE VIKINGS DISCUSSION, CLICK HERE]
Part of that coaching is actually coming from some of his teammates on defense. He has drawn upon lessons from veteran cornerback Terence Newman and picked the brain of Xavier Rhodes about how to beat bigger, more physical cornerbacks.
“I spend a lot of time with them so I’ve got to use them,” he said.
Diggs has drawn comparisons to former Vikings first-round pick Percy Harvin, and their rookie numbers are similar. One main difference: Harvin had Brett Favre as his quarterback playing behind a more veteran offensive line. With that as the backdrop, Harvin had 60 catches for 790 yards as a rookie, but in his seven-year career Harvin never became a 1,000-yard receiver.
Diggs won’t put numbers on his goals for this year.
“No expectations,” he said. “Going in with the right mindset. I’m going to let my work speak for itself. I’m not going to shoot high; I’m not going to shoot low. I’m going to put on film what I put on film. That’s going be my work. We’ll see at the end of the year.”
SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES
- The Vikings waived CB Keith Baxter, who has been hospitalized of late, and LB Jason Whittingham.
- Good weather and the first padded practice of camp on a Sunday helped produce strong attendance numbers Sunday. The Vikings registered 3,025 fans through the gate for the morning walk-through and 4,777 in afternoon.
- Blair Walsh was 8-for-8 in field goals ranging from 29 to 41 yards.
- The play of the day was CB Captain Munnerlyn tipping a pass three time before intercepting it in tight coverage on Charles Johnson.
- Safety Andrew Sendejo made a diving interception of a Teddy Bridgewater pass.
- Rookie Joel Stave connected with Isaac Fruechte on a 60-yard touchdown pass with CB Melvin White in coverage.
- Adrian Peterson (hamstring) and Cordarrelle Patterson (shoulder) continued to sit out.