MANKATO, Minn. — Stefon Diggs has showcased quickness and athleticism since arriving at Winter Park for the offseason program. Now at Verizon Vikings Training Camp, with the Vikings first padded practice of 2015 looming, Diggs wants the good impression he's making to continue.
"You don't want to be a guy that looks good in shorts and a shirt," Diggs said after Tuesday's walk-through.
While a large amount of attention is turned toward the offensive and defensive lines, receivers might face more contact at the line of scrimmage from defensive backs or lock in with linebackers to block on run plays, two aspects that Jarius Wright mentioned.
"I am excited, even though we don't — I'm not going to say we don't get as much out of it with the offensive and defensive line," Wright said. "They get a chance to jam today, which, I like jamming. It's fun. It's football and what I love to do."
Wright, who is capable of playing outside and in the slot, said he likes both, even though moving inside requires more strength for blocking linebackers and fighting off contact from them.
"The best thing Jarius did was in the slot," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "We keep working him outside, but we know that he's got big value for us in the slot as well."
Wright said he's liked what he's observed from Diggs and seen a few reminders of himself.
"I like him. He's a very shifty guy," Wright said. "I've been working with him personally and trying to get him up to the game."
Zimmer said Diggs has "a chance to be really good" and "can get 0 to 40 pretty quickly."
"This guy's got a chance to be really good," Zimmer said. "He runs great routes, he's got excellent speed. He catches the ball as well as anybody I've seen, very, very easily and he's been a model citizen, so that's important. Pretty special for a young guy."
Diggs also has brought a learner's mentality to help the team on offense and special teams.
"I try to get as much extra stuff as I can," Diggs said. "I'm spending a lot of time with the special teams coaches, as far as getting better not only with the punt return but also as a gunner and 50-plus. I feel like I'm getting better with guys like Marcus Sherels and Cordarrelle Patterson, guys that really do well on special teams. It's great to learn from them."
BRIEFS FROM PRIEF: Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer held his first media session of training camp, with topics ranging from the long snapper competition between longest-tenured Viking Cullen Loeffler and Kevin McDermott, to players competing with Sherels and Patterson for return specialist gigs, to the 2015 rule change that spots point after touchdown kicks at the 15-yard line for a 33-yard attempt.
Snaps are being split equally between Loeffler and McDermott, and "those two get along really well. They're both pros. Kevin has done this before. He's come into a camp and beaten out a veteran in San Francisco, and it's new to Cullen, but he's a great human being and a fine young man. He knows it's pro football and this competition is only going to make him better if he ends up being our guy."
As for Sherels, a fifth-year pro who began earning his job as an undrafted rookie, Priefer said, "every year he's earned his job and that's why I respect him so much."
View images from the Monday, July 27 practice at Verizon Vikings Training Camp.
On Patterson, the Vikings top kick returner the past two seasons, Priefer said he's "stronger, leaner, more explosive. He's got a bunch of reps under his belt. I think he's got more confidence as a return man, so I'm excited about his continued development. There's some things he can do a lot better than the first two years.
And for extended extra points, Priefer said the Vikings continue to begin field goal sessions by attempting a PAT from the new distance. He added he expects to see kickers opt for kicking PATs from the right or left hash mark instead of the middle of the field.
ROSTER MOVE:The Vikings removed the non-football injury designation from rookie receiver DaVaris Daniels, who participated in the morning walk-through and is a go. Zimmer said defensive tackle Shamar Stephen is getting closer to being removed from NFI. Cornerback Josh Robinson remains on the physically unable to perform list.