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Diggs, Thielen Expect Jaguars to Contest Catches

EAGAN, Minn. — Stefon Diggs beat Adam Thielen to the podium.

With both receivers scheduled to have media sessions Wednesday, Diggs zipped over to get in front of his friend. Thielen playfully argued before yielding and grabbing a seat in the back row for Diggs' session.

When Diggs wrapped up, he tagged in Thielen with a high-five, a quick affirmation of the strong friendship that has developed between the Vikings starting wide receivers.

Both said they are looking forward to two days of practicing against the Jaguars before Minnesota hosts Jacksonville at noon (CT) Saturday.

They also lamented missing out on potential quality reps against Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who is suspended this week.

There are still plenty of reps and players in Jacksonville's secondary to sate the competitive appetites of receivers who don't believe in taking a play off.

"We were looking forward to going against him," Diggs said of Ramsey. "All of those guys on the back end, they've got a good secondary. On tape, they looked great last year and how far they went. They went just as far as us. They've had success, and their defense was their stronghold, so we were looking forward to it, but it will come in time."

Jacksonville led the NFL in 2017 in passing yards allowed per game (169.9), and Thielen said Jaguars game film consistently showed defenders blanketing opponents.

"Every catch that you saw against them was contested, so we have a lot of respect for those guys in the back end and what they've done," Thielen said. "It's kind of a bummer that Jalen is not here because he's such a great player, and they're such a good duo. It would have been fun to compete against them, but like I said, they're really good at the back end."

According to Pro Football Focus, Diggs led the NFL in 2017 with a contested catch rate of 64 percent, and Thielen ranked sixth in the NFL with a contested catch rate of 57.1 percent.

Here are two other topics covered by Diggs and Thielen:

Freshening up

Diggs and Thielen — and everyone else — appreciate the challenges that the Vikings offense and defense have created for the other during the offseason program and camp, but they also agree that going against another team will freshen things up as camp concludes.

"Going against the same defense doesn't get tiring, but it does get repetitive, but we wanted to get some good work based off going against someone else and learning things," Diggs said. "Going against somebody else gives you a different outlook, as far as asking them questions and what they see.

"Going against your defense, it's basically the same stuff, but going against somebody else, you can really get a good grind out of it, a learning experience and kind of start working your things, making sure everything is there and you're doing everything right," he added.

Thielen conceded that the same defense, same scheme, same players every day eventually gets "a little old."

"So I think it will be good, just to kind of break it up and see different faces, different schemes, different defenses and compete at a little more of a pace because you're going against a different-color jersey," Thielen said.

Their competitive fire

Thielen said he believes in approaching every rep like it's a game that will count in the standings.

"I think you treat every game the same; whether it's the regular season, preseason or out here at training camp practice, you're trying to win every route and put stuff on tape that looks really good. I don't think any mindset changes. If you do change your mindset and say, 'It's only a preseason game,' that's when you don't perform well. For me, I try to treat every rep, every preseason game just like a game and usually that makes it a little easier on game day."

Diggs said he thinks the mentality is shared throughout the position group.

"Any receiver in our room, no matter if it's camp, practice, training, we hate to lose, no matter how you dress it up, so when it comes to winning, we don't have any excuse where you don't know what you've got," Diggs said. "You've got to win."

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