EAGAN, Minn. – Ten years ago, Stefon Diggs made a promise.
Now, he feels fully able to deliver on his word.
The Vikings announced Tuesday afternoon that Diggs had signed an extension with the team a year before his rookie contract expired.
After thanking the Wilfs, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and his agent for working out a deal to keep him in Minnesota, Diggs earnestly told media members that he wanted to share a story.
"It means a lot to me because my dad sat me down a couple months before he passed away," Diggs emotionally said of his father, Aron, who died in 2008. "And he just told me, 'Look after your brothers, look after your mom,' basically, 'Look after your family.'
"And it meant a lot to me. So with this day, it just came full circle," Diggs added. "I have a lot of emotions. You can understand that a little bit."
The 24-year-old hasn't forgotten that request.
"I'm happy that I can look at my mom and smile and tell her that everything's gonna be OK," Diggs said, glancing toward his mother, Stephanie.
Diggs said that he called Stephanie Monday night – several times, in fact – and when she received the message that he planned to sign an extension Tuesday, she became "frantic a little bit."
"She was where a mom would be in a situation like that," Diggs said with a grin. "It's just a happy moment."
Stephanie served as a single mom for Stefon and his siblings after Aron passed away, and pride filled Diggs' voice as he spoke of her. He explained that she worked for the railroad for nearly 30 years while supporting a family and that this contract allows him to "provide a little relief" for the woman who's supported him since day one.
It's been a big couple of weeks for Diggs, who also took his mother along with him to the ESPY Awards, where the Minneapolis Miracle won "Best Moment."
"For me, it was huge just to tell her, 'You don't have to do it anymore. It's going to be OK.' And give her a hug and say, 'I got it. I got it from now on,' " Diggs said.
It was a good day for Diggs, whose passion for the game was lauded earlier by Vikings new Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo and quarterback Kirk Cousins.
While Diggs had remained quiet on contract talk up until this point, he freely expressed excitement after the ink had dried.
"I was happy because this is where I wanted to be. I didn't want to say too much. I wanted to keep it inside. But this is where I wanted to be," Diggs said. "This is where my team is, my friends, you know, Adam [Thielen], I love him to death, and other guys. But we built something special here, I've been here for a while, and I don't want to leave."
Spielman, whose offseason included signing marquee free agents Cousins and Sheldon Richardson and resigning Diggs' draft classmate Danielle Hunter, told media members that he had a discussion with Diggs prior to the signing.
"I talk to all of our guys. And one thing I tell them, 'We're doing this because you deserve it. You've done everything here that we've asked you to do, and you deserve this,' " Spielman recounted.
He was proud to extend a player of Diggs' caliber – both on the field and off.
When asked directly about the story Diggs shared of his father, Spielman didn't hesitate.
"I was talking to his mother [and telling her] how proud she should be, not because of what he does on the field – to me, that's secondary – but 'how your son has grown into a man.' And how many people look up to him, and how many kids look up to these guys. They set great examples."
Diggs strives to represent the Purple well and thrives on making a difference for youth.
But it always has been – and always will be – the eyes of his family he most cares about.
What would you say to your dad if he was here?
While noticeably caught off-guard by the question, Diggs smiled.
"I don't know, that's a great question. It's kind of weird, because at this point I kind of did everything he told me to do. If he was next to me, I'd just be like, 'Are you happy now?' I don't know," he quipped before continuing thoughtfully:
"It's kind of like one of those things where he's not here, [and] it probably drove me even more because I knew he wasn't here. I know, hopefully, he's watching down and he's happy. I don't know what dads do in proud moments – my dad was a tough guy. Hopefully he can at least smile."
Diggs' work isn't done. He plans to hit the practice field harder than ever and continue working toward the Vikings ultimate goal of winning a championship.
But Tuesday was time to enjoy the moment.
"For me, I felt like I did it. My pops left me a message to do, and I accomplished it," Diggs said. "Now moving forward, I just have to continue to do so and continue to make my mom happy."