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Tracking Stefon Diggs' Start Through 16 Games

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Stefon Diggs was the 146th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, a fifth-round selection who saw 19 other wide receivers taken before him.

Now that Diggs has played 16 career games — the equivalent to a full season — his play has made it clear that perhaps he was worthy of being a higher pick.

Diggs has 72 receptions for 1,045 yards and five touchdowns so far in Purple. The Vikings are a perfect 4-0 when Diggs catches a touchdown and also when he has at least 100 receiving yards.

Amari Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in last year's draft, had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns through the first 16 games of his career.

The 22-year-old Diggs said he thought more about his overall draft spot last season. This season, he's just continued his recognizable traits of hard work and determination.

"The chip it did put on my shoulder, that's still on my shoulder – as far as what I can do and how good I can play," Diggs, who has a catch in every game in his career, said about being a late-round pick. "So, it definitely weighed on my heart the whole time, and when I got here, I knew the proof was going to be in the pudding.

"I was going to show what I was worth, I was going to show what I was about, and let everybody else say where I should have gotten drafted," he added. 

Diggs was inactive for the first three games of the 2015 season before bursting onto the scene with 25 catches for 409 yards and two touchdowns in his first four games.

Since Week 4 in 2014 (his first NFL game), Diggs and Seattle's Doug Baldwin are the only two receivers in the NFL to amass at least 1,000 receiving yards and average fewer than seven targets per game. Both Diggs and Baldwin average 6.9 targets/game.

The Vikings are 12-4 with the former University of Maryland standout in the lineup. He led Minnesota in catches (52) and yards (720) as a rookie last season and is currently second in the league with 325 receiving yards this season.

Diggs has caught the eye of former Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, who is now an analyst with ESPN.

"What stands out is his separation. He has good separation," Moss said. "That's something that he's going to need to keep because as you get older, you get slower and things like that.

"So I think just his separation, being able to get open and things like that is what stands out," Moss added.

Diggs had three more catches than Moss in his first 16 games, although Moss had more prolific other numbers with 1,313 yards and an NFL rookie record 17 touchdowns.

And a wide receiver Diggs will see on the opposite sideline on Monday night — Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants — had 115 catches for 1,612 yards and 14 touchdowns while being targeted more than 10 times per game. Beckham's 16 games included time as a rookie and in 2015.

But Diggs has outperformed other notable receivers through the first 16 games of their careers.

Diggs has more catches, yards and touchdowns than Cris Carter, Calvin Johnson, Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Andre Johnson each posted through their first 16 games.

Diggs will be the first one to say his numbers so far mean nothing. He's more focused on wins and making a deep playoff run with the Vikings.

But it's a strong start to a career that didn't get started until the fifth round. 

"I'm still not done with the assessment yet – it's an ongoing process," Diggs said. "I try not to think too much about the past anyway, but I just to move forward and learn from everything – learn from my mistakes and learn from my success.

"(Despite) playing [a] full season … I got a long way to go," he added.

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