MINNEAPOLIS –If you ask Stefon Diggs, chemistry doesn't just happen.
"Chemistry comes from making plays," Diggs said. "Chemistry comes from working hard and doing things the right way so they come together on Sundays."
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Diggs did all of the above in Minnesota's 17-14 win over Green Bay on a Sunday Night Football stage*. *Quarterback Sam Bradford, who made his first start with the Vikings after joining the team via trade on Sept. 3, connected with Diggs nine times for 182 yards and a touchdown. The catches and yardage are career highs for the 2015 fifth-round pick.
"[Sam's] a real poised guy. If you ever look at him, he has the same facial expression the whole time," Diggs said. "But we were in the huddle towards the end of the game, and he said, 'Let's go finish.' It just shows you that tenacity that you want."
Perhaps Diggs' biggest play of the game was the smallest in yardage. In a fourth-and-1 on Green Bay's 18-yard line, the Vikings opted to go for it. Just before getting tackled, Bradford found Diggs over the middle, and Diggs hauled in the reception to keep Minnesota's drive alive. Five snaps later, tight end Kyle Rudolph got into the end zone to even the score at seven apiece.
Diggs got his own chance to score late in the third quarter. Bradford dropped back and made a 25-yard pass to Diggs, who snagged the leaping catch over Packers cornerback Damarious Randall.
"He did amazing – he had a great game. He's a playmaker," Trae Waynes said. "He's competitive. You see it in practice, too. He hates not catching the ball – he goes out and competes every play."
Bradford and Diggs also connected on 44-yard and 46-yard catches in the second and third quarters, respectively. In the latter, the second-year receiver caught Bradford's spiral on his own 33-yard line and wasn't brought down until he reached Green Bay's 36. Of the nine receptions Diggs made, five earned first downs for Minnesota.
Diggs said he knew he had to have a big game when the Packers focused a heavy defensive effort on stopping Adrian Peterson and the ground game.
"As a receiver in the outside, if you have 28 in the backfield, your job is to win," Diggs said. "If they load the box and you have a 1-on-1, you just have to win your 1-on-1. If everybody wins their 1-on-1 battle, you'll have success as a unit."
Bradford called Diggs "unstoppable" Sunday night.
"I mean, he just got open time and time again," Bradford said. "Made a lot of good, big plays for us tonight."
When Bradford arrived in Minnesota and dove headfirst into the playbook and film room, he said Diggs immediately caught his eye.
"He's just kind of one of those guys," Bradford said. "He just kind of popped. You just kind of notice him. He's always getting separation, he seems to always be finding a way to get open."
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Diggs is such an asset on offense because, as much as plays can be drawn up for him, he also finds ways to create opportunities.
"You're always going to try to involve your players the best you can, however we can get to him," Zimmer said. "He's always worked really hard; he's always caught the ball really well. I think he's […] even more competitive every day in practice."
Diggs and Bradford have been practicing with each other for fewer than three weeks, and Diggs joked that he might have an upper hand because his locker neighbors Bradford's at Winter Park.
"But no, we just come in each and every day to work hard and do what you have to do to be successful on the field," Diggs said. "You have to make those plays when they come your way, and you have to show him that you'll do it for him."
He added: "He just throws a good ball, and I try to make the plays for him."
Combining Sunday's stats with his 103-yard performance at Tennessee last week, Diggs became only the third receiver in team history to have back-to-back 100-plus-yard games in weeks one and two. He follows Gene Washington (152 and 172 in 1969) and Cris Carter (121 and 107 in 1997).