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Lunchbreak: Diggs' Elite Route Running Helped Against Sherman

Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season is behind us.

As the Vikings prepare for the Packers and hope to improve to 2-0, former quarterback and current NFL Network analyst David Carr took a look at teams across the league and ranked his top offensive players heading into Week 2.

Of 15 players on Carr’s list, Vikings WR Stefon Diggs came in at No. 12. Carr wrote:

In my opinion, Diggs has proven that he’s the best route runner in the league within the past year. He was tested out of the gate with Richard Sherman lining up on the other side of the ball. And though Sherman isn’t as technically sound as he once was, he’s still mentally sharp and – there’s no question about it – a CB1. Diggs got after Sherman with double moves and precise movements. After a while, I found myself just watching Diggs – who had three catches for 43 yards and receiving TD – run his routes, whether the ball went his way or not.

Carr tabbed Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Rams RB Todd Gurley, all of whom the Vikings are scheduled to face this season, as the league’s top three offensive players after Week 1.

After Gurley, Carr’s rankings were as follows:

Saints RB Alvin Kamara, Steelers WR Antonio Brown, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski, Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr., Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Saints QB Drew Brees, Diggs, Falcons WR Julio Jones, Saints WR Michael Thomas and Chargers WR Keenan Allen.

Rhodes weighs in on NFC North’s best players

There’s no denying the NFC North is a tough division, but which players stand out above the rest?

Xavier Rhodes recently teamed up with The Players Tribune and revealed the seven players he feels are the division’s best.

Three Vikings made Rhodes’ list, all three of them part of Minnesota’s defense: Everson Griffen (No. 6), Harrison Smith (No. 3) and at No. 4, well, Rhodes added himself.

“I gotta put myself on here, right? I’ve been playing some good football,” Rhodes wrote before taking readers back to his first NFL game and the progress he’s made since that point.

He called Smith, the highest-ranking Viking on the list, the “heart and soul of our defense.”

[He’s] one of the best safeties in the game. I think Harry, Eric Berry and Earl Thomas are in a class above everybody else. 

And if I had to pick one, I’m taking Harry.

He’s everywhere on the field. He’ll be playing safety one moment, then linebacker the next. He knows every position on the defense, and he knows the opposing offenses inside and out.

The other players included in Rhodes’ rankings were opposing offensive weapons: Lions WR Golden Tate (No. 7), Bears RB Jordan Howard (No. 5), Lions QB Matthew Stafford (No. 2) and Rodgers (No. 1), whom Rhodes and the Vikings are scheduled to play Sunday at noon. (Note: The Packers have not disclosed whether or not Rodgers will start after suffering an injury in Monday night’s game).

Rodgers just has it. 

And he can do it from the pocket, outside the pocket, running left, running right, while he’s getting tackled … this guy has no weakness. He doesn’t get frazzled. He’s so accurate, always on the money.

[…]

His demeanor — his swagger — he’s so confident in his game that it actually bothers you. And you can’t even talk trash about him. You have to respect him, because he’s one of the best to ever play the game.

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