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Once a Rookie, Diggs Now Mentoring Young WRs in Camp

MANKATO, Minn. — It was only two summers ago that Stefon Diggs was a rookie trying to make a mark in his first NFL training camp.

Diggs has since established himself as a key cog in the Vikings offense, as his 136 receptions and 1,623 receiving yards the past two seasons lead the team over that span.

But even though the former fifth-round pick is no longer trying to find his way, he's more than willing to help the Vikings current crop of young wide outs.

"Those are my guys. I'm around for them regardless," Diggs said. "As an older guy, I look at myself as a leader and stay on those guys. You don't want to be too hard on them. They have a lot on their plate already, but stay in their ear, let them know you're there for them, and we're all cheering for them.

"My first year, I wasn't focused on making the team. I was focused on getting my job done. That transition now is a different approach," Diggs added. "I'm looking at it from a different point of view, and I know how hard it is. I've been in those shoes, and I know there's a lot thrown at you. Let them know, 'I've got your back. I'm right here with you. There's nothing to worry about.''

Diggs has seen his role evolve over the past few years from unheralded rookie to go-to playmaker.

He drew national headlines in the Vikings 17-14 win over Green Bay in the first-ever game at U.S. Bank Stadium with nine catches for 182 yards and a touchdown.

While some may say they're waiting for Diggs to put together a full season, his teammates believe the 23-year-old is already a star.

"Honestly, I think the term 'breakout season' with the Vikings is used very late. I think he broke out as a rookie, so I think maybe people start noticing him a little more," said Vikings safety Harrison Smith. "But as far as breakout, he already broke out. He's very good.

"I don't even know what the good stats are, but he's really good. That's all I know," Smith added. "He's very, I think he's ahead of time as far as understanding how to get open and where the soft spots on the defense are, how to run his routes. He's very detailed."

Diggs was a tad more modest when describing his play over the last two seasons.

"For me, I have a long ways to go," Diggs said. "I've had continued progress since my first year, and I'm just trying to take the next step as far as doing a little more."

Diggs said Saturday that he focused on improving his workout regimen this offseason with the hopes of staying healthy for a full season. The wide receiver missed three games due to injuries.

But that doesn't mean the Maryland native took it easy, as he revealed he trained with Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson, the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. 

"I spend a lot of time in Houston, not a lot of time but a good amount of time in Houston," Diggs said. "Kevin Johnson is a good friend of mine, a corner for the Texans.

"He's a very quick guy," Diggs added. "We get it in when we work out."

With Diggs entering his third professional season, he'll continue to pass along advice to his fellow wide receivers.

He's certainly learned a thing or two during his own time in the NFL.

"Commitment," Diggs quipped as the focal point to being a successful wide receiver. "You have to have a dedication to what you do, you have to love what you do, you have to love to study."

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