The Vikings front office was a busy place this past summer as Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and his staff signed linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter and wide receiver Stefon Diggs to contract extensions.
Each player is viewed as a critical part of the roster, and the play of the trio has been top notch in 2018.
Hunter is tied for second in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, Kendricks leads the Vikings in tackles yet again and Diggs is on pace for a career season.
Mike Sando of ESPN recently went back and looked at multiple offseason contract extensions signed by players in the offseason, and he lauded the Vikings for their decision to lock up Diggs to a long-term deal.
Sando put the Diggs’ extension in his most successful tier, joking that Spielman “can, with a straight face, brag about the deal to team ownership and anyone else at mythical cocktail parties.”
Diggs has 79 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns so far in 2018.
Diggs should easily reach 100 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving, which would represent career highs and a strong return on investment. Bigger picture: Getting this deal done helped allay concerns that the Vikings might struggle to re-sign core players after committing so much to Kirk Cousins.
Minnesota knew the price for Diggs was only going to climb as he drew closer to free agency (his four-year rookie deal was set to expire in March 2019). The Vikings also knew that Diggs, like [Tyler] Lockett, had not made big money on his rookie deal. Those factors allowed the team to reach agreement with Diggs on a deal that, while expensive, fit into its salary structure.
Sando quoted a “veteran offensive coach” who said before the extension that “Diggs can win outside or in the slot. That is what you are looking for if you are going to pay him like an elite guy.”
Diggs missed Minnesota’s Week 9 game against the Lions, but Sando noted the former fifth-round pick’s 16-game pace would put him at 126 catches for 1,264 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Diggs had 84 receptions for 903 yards in 2016, and his top touchdown total was eight in 2017.
Cousins, Vikings receive high marks after win over Green Bay
It was a game the Vikings had to have, and quarterback Kirk Cousins and crew delivered in a big way.
Minnesota picked up a clutch 24-17 win over the Packers on Sunday Night Football, improving the Vikings record to 6-4-1 and keeping the team in a solid position for a run at the playoffs.
John Breech of CBS Sports said Cousins and his teammates came through when it mattered most, and Breech also praised a defense that held the Packers to just 254 total yards.
Breech handed out grades after the weekend of Week 12 action and gave Minnesota an ‘A-’ for its home win in prime time.
The Vikings needed a big game from Kirk Cousins, and that's exactly what they got. Cousins threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and played arguably his best game of the season. Cousins picked apart the Packers defense with the help of Adam Thielen (eight catches, 125 yards, one TD) and Stefon Diggs (eight catches, 77 yards, 1 TD), who both made multiple big plays in the game. Of course, Cousins also got some help from a Vikings defense that kept Aaron Rodgers in check. Sheldon Richardson tallied [2.0] of Minnesota's four sacks in a game where the Vikings defense had Rodgers flustered for most of the night.
The win meant the Vikings went 1-0-1 against Green Bay in 2018.
Minnesota has had consistent success against the Packers in recent years, going 5-1-1 in the past seven Border Battles.
Cousins nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Week
In the wake of his impressive performance against the Packers, Cousins has been nominated for the FedEx Air Player of the Week, the NFL announced Tuesday. Fans can vote to help him receive the honor.
The two other passers nominated were Colts QB Andrew Luck (343 yards, three touchdowns against the Dolphins) and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (339 yards, two touchdowns against the Panthers).
Also nominated were three players for FedEx Ground Player of the Week: Patriots RB Sony Michel (133 rushing yards, one touchdown against the Jets), Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (125 rushing yards, one touchdown against the Seahawks) and Texans RB Lamar Miller (162 rushing yards, one touchdown against the Titans).
Click here to vote.