The Vikings wide receiver room is a fairly unhappy place right now. In the wake of an embarrassing loss to the Bears, a clearly unhappy Adam Thielen publicly pointed out " ," which was more or less a direct indictment of Kirk Cousins (who was so bad, the Vikings drafted a quarterback in the first round in Ryan Wilson's latest mock draft).
The Vikings' other studly receiver got a perfectly fine target share on Sunday, catching all seven of the passes thrown his way for 108 receiving yards. The problem? His output in Week 4 was more than his combined receiving yards from Weeks 1 through 3. After inking a big deal with the Vikings before the 2018 season, Diggs was expected to be a focal point of the offense. He has been frustrated this year as a result of the Vikings struggles.
It felt like Diggs made that very clear when he tweeted out a "no mouth" emoji on Monday evening in the wake of the buzz surrounding Thielen and Cousins.
😶— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) September 30, 2019
Bear in mind that Diggs' coach, Mike Zimmer, has also fired shots in the direction of Cousins following the debacle against the Bears. Zimmer said he was "not a fan" of Cousins apologizing publicly to Thielen (a QB apologizing to a WR is a weird thing in the NFL) and when asked why Cousins struggles in big games, .
"I don't know," Zimmer said. "You'd have to ask him."
Ouch. The Vikings are 2-2, so any panic over this team is silly. But there are definitely eyes on the receivers right now. So when Diggs missed practice on Wednesday and the reason was listed as "not injury related" it definitely shot some brows towards the sky.
Read the replies to that tweet. People are melting down about the idea of this meaning a Diggs trade is on the horizon.
There is no concrete evidence to support that Diggs is going to be traded. In fact, Diggs was dinged up briefly against the Bears on Sunday and left the game. So it could be a rest day without a specific injury designation? That would be a weird way to explain it on the injury report.
And there is a big old pile of circumstantial evidence surrounding Diggs' status with the Vikings that has led people to believe he might potentially be on the move.
For starters, there's just the basic contract and usage. The Vikings are paying Cousins $84 million to be a game-manager type, and he's not exactly managing things very well. They're paying Diggs $81 million and Thielen $64 million and the passing game stinks.
Kirk Cousins: 3 years, $84M— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 30, 2019
Stefon Diggs: 5 years, $81M
Adam Thielen: 4 years, $64M
Vikings: 31st in passing yards per game, 32nd in passing first downs per game
Secondly, there's Diggs' obvious frustration. According to local reporters, Diggs hasn't spoken to the media in two weeks as he struggles out of the gate.
He's also been posting cryptic images and captions -- "Control what you can control," "I'm in control of my destiny, never in doubt," etc. -- and posted that mouthless emoji tweet. All of this sounds very stupid when you say it out loud, but these things are indeed the sort of precursor to a potential move in the modern day NFL.
And then there's this: Diggs followed a bunch of Patriots players on Instagram.
What does it mean?
Probably nothing. Remember when Melvin Gordon followed a bunch of different teams on Instagram and everyone assumed it might mean he was trying to dictate where he'd get traded to? That didn't happen and he ended up giving up on his holdout before the fourth week of the season.
Diggs also followed some Bills players too, for what it's worth, although that move happened later in the week.
The Patriots thing happened on Sunday/Monday and it caused quite a stir. But again -- and I can't stress this enough -- following a group of people on Instagram does not mean a move is on the horizon.
If Diggs were to actually get traded, though, both the Patriots and Bills would make a lot of sense. Tom Brady was reportedly angry , and we saw against Buffalo last week that the Patriots are not stocked with top end receiving options right now. Diggs would be a welcome addition to this New England team. Bill Belichick would probably not be worried about giving up a first-round pick for a 25-year-old wide receiver who looked like he might be on the verge of breaking out this year.
The Bills would make sense too! Yes, they're probably interested in taking away a potential weapon for Brady/Belichick, but they are 3-1 and played the Pats hard, and they have a clear need to add more pieces around Josh Allen. Diggs' contract is hardly a problem at this stage given his age and production. He'd immediately be the No. 1 in Buffalo and fit well with Cole Beasley and John Brown.
It could simply be the Vikings giving Diggs a day of rest after a rough week. Rest days are pretty common for star players and Diggs could simply be getting that kind of treatment from his team.