On Tuesday, the Vikings gave wide receiver Stefon Diggs a five year, $72million extension. This extension has $40 million in guarantees and can go up to 5 years, $81 million. Diggs is now the fifth highest paid receiver in the league and the former fifth-round pick will now be expected to be one of the game’s elite receivers. Now, did Diggs deserve this contract and what does this mean for the Vikings? We’ll explore both of these things in this article.
Diggs, 24, had 849 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns, and 60.6 yards per game. His 83.3% contested catch rate was the best in the NFL, and Viking quarterbacks had a 119.2 QB rating when targeting him last year, which ranked 4th in the NFL. He only had two drops last season, which is less than Julio Jones (7), DeAndre Hopkins (4), and Antonio Brown (3). He hasn’t played a full season yet, but he’s hasn’t suffered a significant injury that would be alarming before giving him this extension.
Now, Diggs may not be the fifth best receiver, but he’s arguably a top ten receiver. His high contested catch rate and lack of drops show he’s not reliant on his quarterback. In most cases, a receiver is a product of a good quarterback, but instead, Diggs makes his quarterbacks better. In his three seasons, Diggs has played with a different quarterback in each of his three seasons. He went from a run-first quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, to an inconsistent pocket passer in Sam Bradford, to a journeyman in Case Keenum. With Kirk Cousins as his quarterback, Diggs should finally eclipse 1000 yards, and he should be Cousins’ go-to target this season and beyond.
With this extension, the Vikings have now extended all of their young core besides linebacker Anthony Barr. However, they can always use the franchise tag on him if the two sides can’t come to an agreement on a new deal. Besides Barr, they don’t have any significant free agents until 2021, when Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen are up for new contracts. That’s a long ways away, however, which means the Vikings are set for the future at least for three seasons. This is an amazing young core the Vikings have, and now they are almost all apart of the Vikings’ future.
Stefon Diggs may not currently be a top-five receiver, but he’s arguably top ten and could be top five in a couple years. By then, receivers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and AJ Green will likely have new deals. That means that Diggs may end up being underpaid in a couple years considering how fast the wide receiver market value is rising. This is a great move by the Vikings and one they needed to make.