Note: This article is part of a three-part series, to read the earlier posts click the following:
Trading Diggs would be a Nightmare Part I – The “Two Tight End” Myth
Trading Diggs would be a Nightmare Part II – The Cap/Trade Value
I started part two of this series by saying that I’d failed you all. After reading some of the responses to that piece on BleacherReport.com (and it’s app), I have to double down on that statement. People are saying “Why are you writing about this garbage?” there and on our message board, and because of that, I feel like, despite the heavy-handed title, I haven’t explained why I’m writing this series well enough.
So, let me quickly explain.
I agree with those people. This idea SHOULD be laughable, but it clearly isn’t as it has dominated the VikesGeist for the last couple weeks. So, my goal in writing this is to put an end to all of the different angles people are using to explain why trading Stefon Diggs is either realistic or a good idea. It’s neither, and that’s the point of this series, as we’ve seen.
No, as the first article stated, Diggs’ talent isn’t redundant because of the “Two Tight End System” that Kubiak employs. And no, we couldn’t find something similar in the draft (per the second part of this series) and no, trading Diggs wouldn’t solve the Vikings’ cap space issues (also per part II).
So what’s left?
Oh yeah, perhaps the situation that led to this topic in the first place, Diggs’ “Diva” behavior. Luckily, because the football gods either love or hate me, this has become increasingly important in the day (ish) that I’ve been writing this piece as… Yawn, Diggs apparently deleted all of the Vikings pictures from his Instagram and… Who cares.
I’m a football fan (addict) because of my father, and he’s always used the adage that he attributed to Bud Grant, that the main job of a PRO football coach was managing personalities. Now, I’ve searched for the source of that quote and haven’t found where it came from (although I’ve also heard it’s also a Bill Parcell’s quote, and others), but it doesn’t matter.
We aren’t the morality police, here. We all love the same thing, which is the Vikings. So, it’s Zimmer’s job to deal with the personality, attitudes and, yes, outbursts from his players. Now, we’ve seen Diggs, seemingly increasingly, exhibit more and more selfish behavior.
I won’t spend this article denying that that’s the case. Despite the spin from the team, I do think that Diggs has shown some selfish behavior and that behavior does nothing but hurt the team and make him look bad, I’ve said this in the past 12 months and I won’t change it now because I don’t want the team to trade him.
I’ve argued that Diggs’ behavior was actually more detrimental to the team than what Randy Moss did back in the day, and if that’s what was used to explain the Moss trade, then why wouldn’t I be for the Diggs trade?
First, let me explain what I’ve taken issue with in terms of Diggs’ behavior, and also why I didn’t think trading Moss was a good idea then and why I don’t think trading Diggs is a good idea now. I wrote after the Saints playoff game that Diggs’ helmet throwing outburst had no other explanation outside of his own selfishness, and I’ll explain it again.
There are valid reasons for a player to get upset about the state of things and show it on the field (or sidelines), and the best example I can think of is actually Randy Moss’ infamous “Walking off the field” moment seemed awful at the time, but if you spent a second actually realizing why Moss did it, you’ll actually love him more for it.
The Vikings had started the were in the midst of the second epic collapse in two seasons when he walked off FedEx field. The season prior the team had started 6-0 and ended up missing the playoffs. That season? They had started 5-1 and were two-point something seconds away from losing to the Redskins.
Those losses were squarely on the shoulders of the then-Owner, Red McCombs, who had insisted that his ragtag group of defensive “players” were “championship” caliber (when he was essentially asked why he/the team hadn’t invested really anything in the defense to help the still powerful Moss-led offense take advantage of it’s still… Powerful…Ness.
So, Moss’s intention was to show a protest about the state of the franchise.
Let’s compare that to Diggs’ helmet throwing shenanigans during the Wildcare game against the Saints. I’ll make this quick:
While I never think that sort of behavior is acceptable, I can see scenarios in which I at least agree with the person doing it (or see some larger point to it). Every single possible variable in that game/moment points to Diggs being selfish. You could be upset, like Moss, if the team was collapsing and thus wasting the precious youth of players like Diggs. But, it happened in a playoff game, so that doesn’t count.
They were also winning the game at that point, therefore it wasn’t based on that either (not that it’d make it okay). Then there are the quasi-personal variables. That, perhaps Diggs wasn’t getting “his”, which was hurting his ability to maximize his talent financially.
The Vikings have actually been very generous in that regard, paying Diggs for his potential and not necessarily his output (as they know how integral he is to their future and that he’d beast out somewhere that, you know, doesn’t replace it’s quarterback every year-and-a-half, on top of replacing its offensive coordinator with similar frequency).
No, Diggs was simply upset that despite the fact that the Vikings were on their way to upsetting the “best” team in the NFC in their stadium, he wasn’t getting more balls. That’s nothing but selfish and as Chris Collinsworth said at the time, it hurts the team because it puts additional pressure on Kirk Cousins. So, again, I’m not a fan of that but at the same time, that’s something for the team to work on and isn’t, in my (opposite of) humble opinion, not worth removing Diggs from the team.
Then there’s the whole fact that Adam Thielen has done similar things. He and Cousins had their heated argument on the sidelines last year, and Thielen (in)famously had to go on Cousins’ podcast after the Bears game Week 4 to essentially make the peace with Cousins and atone for his spicy, small-town Minnesotan “attitude”.
So, to summarize, I am not saying that what Diggs has done is something I agree with or even like. But, if you read part I and II of this series, you’ll know that I strongly believe that trading Diggs from this team might be one of the worst potential trades in team history. Considering the fact that this team is the Vikings, the same team that traded for Herschel Walker (by giving the Cowboys their entire ’90’s dynasty), and traded away Randy Moss for Napoleon Harris and what ended up being Troy Williamson… That means something.
Then again, this is apparently all for not as it looks like the team is exactly where I am on this subject. So, while you may see articles that claim to have a “report” that the team is looking to trade Diggs (which, if you read the actual “report” you’ll see that it’s simply a quote from Colin Cowherd about the team wanting to “move on” from Diggs, not some sort of insider view or even view from someone who has access to the Vikings like that).
Speaking of access, Tom Pelissero is someone that has it and has said this:
He also said; “This is Diggs being Diggs” and while it’s good to know that the team sees it that way as well, it’s about time that both people in the media and fans get on the same page as the rest of us.
Or we could just allow Thielen to get double (or triple) covered every play?
Knock on wood, if Thielen gets injured, we’d be going out there with Olabisi Johnson and some draft pick that the team would use to replace Diggs as the second receiver (or, god forbid, Laquon Treadwell). Considering the success, or lack thereof that the team has had drafting receivers (especially in the early rounds), that seems like a complete disaster in the making.
Hopefully, Pelissero’s Tweet will be the end of this nonsense. But, considering this off-season has been nothing short of a dumpster fire thus far, I am not super confident.