Lunch Break

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Lunchbreak: Stefon Diggs Equates Running Routes to Painting

Posted Jul 17, 2017

Stefon Diggs recently repped the Vikings in London, spending time with youth and connecting with NFL fans across the pond.

While there, Diggs also spoke with Peter Carline of Daily Mail, a UK-based publication. The wide receiver has scored seven touchdowns in two seasons, all of them against NFC North opponents – and he hopes to change that statistic this season.

“I’ve got to open it up a little bit and have more fun out there,” Diggs told Carline. “I feel like I haven’t touched the [end] zone as much as I would like to. And it’s my job to do it.”

Never one to shy away from responsibility, Diggs also vowed to be more intentional about in avoiding injury. 

“I feel like I can go get 100 yards any game, especially when I’m healthy, but that’s my job, to stay healthy,” Diggs said. “I have faith in myself. I feel like I am one of the best receivers. I feel like I can play. [I’ve] got confidence in myself, I’ve just got to put it on paper.”

Carline wrote:

A master of giving little away, Diggs is a crisp route runner who is capable of creating separation due to his speed and violent cuts. He is, almost unfailingly, where he is supposed to be.

Diggs said that he prides himself on his route-running abilities.

“It’s like painting pictures,” he told Carline. “I want to draw the best canvas I can, make it look nice. So my quarterback likes it.

“I try not to focus too much on records,” Diggs added. “I try to control what I can control. If any passes are thrown to me I just try to catch them and have a high completion rate. Because the more touches you have the more trust you have. My focus this year is being healthy and then I can catch a lot more.’

Jaleel Johnson learning from ‘some really great guys’

All 11 of the Vikings draft picks will report to training camp on July 23, all hoping for a shot at the final 53-man roster.

One of those hopefuls is defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, drafted 109th overall. He was one of two Iowa Hawkeyes selected in this year’s draft; the Chargers snagged defensive back Desmond King in the fifth round.

Scott Dochterman, who covers the Hawkeyes for landof10.com, recently spoke with Johnson about his first NFL offseason. Dochterman wrote:

Johnson heads to a squad known for selecting Iowa players. Former Hawkeyes excelling with the Vikings include Hall of Fame safety Paul Krause, longtime linebacker Wally Hilgenberg and, most recently, linebacker Chad Greenway, who retired in March after 11 seasons.

“I’ve heard some talks about it,” Johnson told Dochterman in response to the Iowa legacy. “It’s one thing to talk about it; it’s another thing to go out and do it.”

Johnson said he felt that the defensive line unit “made some positive steps” this spring and added that he’s grateful to be learning from linemates like Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen.

“The tempo is definitely a lot quicker than I thought it would be,” Johnson said. “But it’s nothing that I can’t handle. I’m around a lot of great guys, guys who are willing to help you along.”

Johnson is developing under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, whom Dochterman referred to as one “of the NFL’s best defensive coaches.”

Johnson agrees.

“[Zimmer is] a defensive guru,” he told Dochterman. “He knows the ins and outs of the defense and that’s kind of scary, all the stuff that he knows. Having him as the coach is definitely an advantage because he’s the one who puts us in the right position to win.”

PFF highlights ‘shutdown CBs’ Newman and Rhodes

When he takes the field for the 2017 season, Vikings cornerback Terence Newman will be the second-oldest active defender in the NFL. He is behind only Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who is exactly four months older than Newman.

But don’t be fooled by Newman’s age. He’s continued to perform at a high level since signing with the Vikings in 2015, last year recording 45 total tackles (coaches’ tally), 14 passes defensed, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble and an interception.

Pro Football Focus recently tabbed Newman No. 2 overall in coverage snaps per reception, with 14.7. Xavier Rhodes, who is returning for his fifth season in Purple, also was ranked in the top 10 by PFF.