Past and present Minnesota Vikings wideouts Stefon Diggs and Justin Jefferson will be comparison bedfellows indefinitely. In 2020, Diggs, 27, tops the 21-year-old Jefferson in receiving yards while the rookie LSU alumnus is superior in touchdowns. The Buffalo Bills are in a serious playoff hunt and even won the NFC East division for the first time in twenty years. The Vikings are battling mediocrity as the team was beset by a flurry of injuries early and often in 2020.
The national discourse often correlates the performances of Diggs and Jefferson to offer a verdict on the “winner” of the trade. For 2020’s sake, the “who got the better side” narrative likely results in a draw. Diggs has helped Josh Allen’s maturity accelerate swiftly. A once notoriously inaccurate young passer has mutated into a quasi-MVP candidate. Diggs’ handiwork can be attributable to Allen’s rapid development. On the other side of the deal, the Vikings own a Top 10 wide receiver that is barely allowed to drink a glass of whiskey. Jefferson is immersed in a duel for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award with fellow “Justin” of the Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert. Odds to win the honor through 15 weeks are seemingly split.
While it is understandable to debate who is better – a cheap OROY candidate or an expensive team-changing wideout – a determination is in 2020 is immaterial. Foremost, the cumulative details of Diggs vs. Jefferson are unknown, unless one is asoothsayer. Jefferson could be the next Jerry Rice – or he could encounter a sophomore slump. It is speculatory.
The more important facet of the transaction: Not all pieces have fallen into place. Yes, it is Diggs and Jefferson at the moment, but the Vikings still have fruit to consume from the deal. Besides, Minnesota has a 4th Round draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft directly obtained from Buffalo to spend. And, there’s more.
The Trevis Gipson Part
The Vikings squeezed a 5th Round pick in last year’s draft out of the Diggs trade with Buffalo. General manager Rick Spielman essentially put it in his back pocket. He sent the pick to the Chicago Bears for a 4th Round pick in the 2020 draft. Chicago selected a man name Trevis Gibson, a defensive lineman that has played 53 snaps for the Bears in 2020. The judgment on Gipson is still out.
But Minnesota will have a 4th rounder to play within four months. The Vikings may stay in that spot and pluck a rookie, or they could package the pick in trade bait. To be clear, this notthe aforementioned 4th Round selection nabbed from the Bills on the day of the Diggs trade. This is an extra piece.
And James Proche to Baltimore
That’s not all. Buffalo agreed to barter a 6th Round pick, too. Just like the Gipson arrangement, Spielman parlayed that tidbit into future dealings. The Vikings sent the 6th Round pick from the Diggs trade to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a 5th Round choice in the April of 2021. The Ravens flipped that into a player named James Proche. He joined the AFC purple team as a wide receiver but has predominantly played special teams this season. Proche notched one reception for 14 yards in Week 11 against the Tennessee Titans. Baltimore fielded a 7th Round pick as well from the Vikings in this deal. It netted the Ravens Geno Stone, a safety that has not played much to date.
So, the Vikings scored another future pick here. Similar to the Chicago trade, Spielman may utilize this asset to move-and-shake in the trade market or select a 5th Rounder this April. Ironically, that is the same round that Spielman found Diggs during the 2015 draft.
So, What’s the Overall Haul?
It’s a bunch. As of Christmas 2020, the Vikings accumulated the following as a result of trading Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills: Justin Jefferson, Kenny Willekes (a 7th Round defensive lineman on the Vikings injured reserve list), a 2021 4th Round pick, another 2021 4th Round Pick, and a 2021 5th Round pick. All other teams received Stefon Diggs, Trevis Gibson, James Broche, Geno Stone, and a 7th Round player named Dane Jackson (CB) to the Bills.
Spielman may turn the final three pieces of the Diggs trade into legendary stuff. Those undetermined pieces may also flop. Either way – the full haul of the Diggs trade is not yet known. In that regard, it is moot to choose “Diggs or Jefferson” until the trade spoils are more apparent.