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Notebook: Stefon Diggs Already Focused on Improvements for 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Stefon Diggs had more catches and more yards than his breakout rookie season a year ago.

The Vikings wide receiver said Monday that he's already hungry for more in 2017.

"(My first) year I didn't say much about it; I just wanted to go out and play," Diggs said. "And it's kind of the same thing this following year – just moving forward.

"As far opportunity-wise, taking full advantage of every one I get. As far as stuff for me, I'm going to keep working," he added. "This is just a small step in the right direction as far as where I want to be. I'm not close at all, so you're going to see more of me."

Diggs, a fifth-round pick in 2015, led the Vikings with 84 catches this season. He finished second on the team with 903 receiving yards and added three touchdowns.

Diggs also missed three games, including Sunday's win over the Bears due to a hip injury. 

He said didn't specify what goals he had in mind for next season, but said he wants to find a way to stay on the field more in 2017.

"I came back better than I was last year, and that's (a) point proven," Diggs said. "I missed three games last year; I missed three games this year … I'm going to better, long story short."

The 23-year-old said he planned on getting together with Minnesota's quarterbacks group in the offseason. But he also said he will tailor his offseason workout plan to reduce the toll on his body. 

"Last offseason I was going real hard – there was times I was working out at like 11:00 at night," he said. "So this offseason, it's just going to be a little bit smarter. Not go as hard – go a little bit smarter, work efficiently."

Diggs has 136 catches for 1,623 yards and seven touchdowns in 26 career games.

View images from 'move out day' as players said their goodbyes and cleared out their lockers at Winter Park.

Forbath grateful for opportunity

Kai Forbath was the perfect fit once he joined the Vikings in mid-November.

The kicker connected on all 15 of his field goal attempts and finished with a team-high 56 points scored.

Although Forbath, missed three of his 14 extra point tries, he said his integration into the franchise was smooth.

"I'm happy with how everything went," Forbath said. "There were a couple (extra points) I could take back, but I'm very happy with field goals at least.

"And I think kickoffs got improved throughout the season," he added. "Just really happy for the opportunity I got here and hopefully I can continue it on next year."

Beyond a comfort level with long snapper Kevin McDermott and punter/holder Kevin McDermott, Forbath cited a strong environment as the reason he would want to return to Minnesota next season.

"It's a great group of guys, coaches," Forbath said. "I feel like this could be a good place to be."

Reflections from the rookies

A pair of Vikings rookies offered up their take on what their first season in the NFL meant to them. 

Tight end David Morgan, a sixth-round draft pick, said he fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing in 11 games for Minnesota.

"It was great. Obviously, the season didn't go as we planned or how we envisioned it," Morgan said. "But the experience of getting out here and doing what I love to do was incredible.

"I'm very thankful for the Vikings organization for giving me a chance, so it was great," he added. "A lot of ups and a lot of downs, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I was just thankful to be a part of it."

Morgan, who had one catch for four yards this season, also had a pair of kickoff returns for 29 yards. The first-ever draft pick out of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Morgan said he'll work to take on any challenge next season.

"Whatever it is, I'm ready for it," Morgan said. "I had a minimal role this year but whatever it was they needed, I was ready to do it."

Meanwhile, Minnesota's final draft pick in 2016 made a splashy play in Sunday's finale.

Rookie safety Jayron Kearse recovered a muffed punt by Chicago that led to a Vikings touchdown pass and a 24-7 lead.

Kearse, a seventh-round pick out of Clemson, characterized his first season as a roller-coaster.

"It was mostly me having ups and downs. But it was a definite learning experience," Kearse said. "I got my feet wet. I'm looking forward to this offseason and I know what to expect next year.

"Just come out and be better than I was when I came in and when I ended the season," he added. "That's really what it's all about. I learned from some great players and built some good relationships."

Kearse played in all 16 games and made one start at safety in the Vikings Week 8 loss in Chicago, but added he has lofty goals going forward.

"I have high expectations for myself," Kearse said. "I know the types of things I want to do and the things I'm capable of doing.

"I'd say I had a pretty good rookie season but I definitely expect more," he added.

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