That never happened. Injuries mounted, causing him to miss three games for different injuries that limited his effectiveness in games he was able to play and resulted in several other missed practices.
As the Vikings returned to Winter Park for offseason conditioning last month, Diggs put the onus of missed games on himself and said his offseason routine is changing as he figures out what works for him.
“That was another key thing was finding what works for me this offseason so I could play 16-plus weeks. I wasn’t healthy for a good amount [in 2016] and it’s no fault but my own. I take full responsibility for it,” he said.
“I changed a lot, as far finding what works with the season. When I was doing all the rehab stuff, now it’s more preventional stuff rather than on the back end trying to get things together.”
His second season in the NFL – filled so much promise after a strong start that included back-to-back 100-yard games and 295 yards total to open the season – saw the 1,000-yard dream slowly dismantled with three different injuries.
A groin injury in September caused him to miss one practice and be limited for another one the following week before missing an entire week of practice and the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans before the Vikings’ bye week.
Two weeks later, he was active but limited during the week of practice. That same pattern played out over the next two weeks.
In November, with the groin injury apparently healed, it was a knee injury that cropped up and caused him to miss the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions. Diggs also appeared on the injury report for two weeks with the knee but was active for those games.
On Christmas week, it was a hip that started to trouble him, causing him to miss one practice and be limited in another, but he was active for the Christmas Eve game against the Packers. But, before the season finale against Chicago, Diggs didn’t practice or play because of the hip injury, despite him being within reach of a 1,000-yard season.
In all, Diggs missed three games during the 2016 season – one in October with a groin injury, one in November because of a knee and the season finale on Jan. 1 with a hip injury.
After being a healthy scratch for the first three games of his rookie season, Diggs believes he is finding out how to take a more professional approach with each passing season.
“You’re kind of figuring it all out and now I’ve got a good hang of these and I feel like I’m a professional and know to approach each day,” he said. “[As a rookie], you’re young and trying to figure it all out. Now I’ve kind of get it figured out and now I’m just pushing. Right now my job is to push myself and have that push my teammates.”
As a rookie, Diggs caught 52 passes for 720 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games. Last year, he caught 84 passes for 903 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games.
Yet, he still uses his draft drop to the fifth round in 2015 as motivation.
“I’ve got the same chip on my shoulder that I did then with something to prove,” he said. “Not a lot of talking. … More so just trying to get things done and be a professional.”