Minnesota Vikings alumnus Stefon Diggs is journeying to his second career conference championship. This time, he does so as an All-Pro wide receiver on the upstart Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo slogged its way to victory against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday in the first of two AFC Divisional Playoff games during the pandemic season. For most of the evening, the Bills and Ravens tussled in a contest that was reminiscent of Ravens-Steelers games from the 2000s and 2010s. It also felt similar to Super Bowl LIII when the New England Patriots outlasted the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3.
Diggs’ entrance into the Bills offense last September marked the commencement of a new era in Buffalo – one that was highlighted by Josh Allen’s rapid maturation. This can be unmistakably attributed to Diggs’ talent and production. But Buffalo toppled Baltimore this weekend because of defense. Bills cornerback Taron Johnson ripped off a Lamar Jackson pass late in the third quarter and rumbled 101 yards for a game-changing touchdown. Then, the reigning league MVP, Jackson, was injured moments later all but sealing the Bills win.
The national media will spend ample time this week gushing over the Bills offensive renaissance, but it was the defense that defeathered the Ravens in this playoff tryst.
Regardless, Diggs did score a touchdown and his thumbprints were found all over the game plan. He siphoned 30% of Allen’s pass attempts versus Baltimore tabulating 106 receiving yards.
Now Diggs and his Bills will travel to Kansas City next Sunday. Individually, Diggs has earned his chance at a redo of the 2017 NFC Championship – a game that resulted in a depressing Minnesota loss at Philadelphia.
And, it is ok to be happy for the former Viking.
Diggs maneuvering out of Minnesota is a topic of contention. Some say he wanted a trade because he was utilized too seldom in the Vikings offense. Others say he flat-out disliked Kirk Cousins, although Diggs has personally debunked the theory. Another camp maintains that general manager Rick Spielman received an irresistible trade offer from Buffalo, and that the trade was his personal brainchild.
The reason for his exodus is now interpretive nonfiction on the ash heap of Vikings history. The man is excelling to the utmost with the Bills. He led the NFL in receptions this season; he led the NFL in receiving yards, too. Diggs is also the most targeted man in America – Allen threw the ball in his direction a copious 166 times (the most to any pass-catcher in the NFL).
No matter the “why” of his departure, Diggs is thriving at an individual and team level. The man that co-wrote The Minneapolis Miracle deserves your pride.