Wallace sees bright future for Vikings rookie wideout Diggs
By Chris Tomasson St. Paul Pioneer Press Minnesota Vikings receiver Mike Wallace has had two 1,000-yard seasons, made a Pro Bowl and starred in a Super Bowl, and Stefon Diggs has played all of one NFL game. Nevertheless, Wallace already sees some...
By Chris Tomasson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Minnesota Vikings receiver Mike Wallace has had two 1,000-yard seasons, made a Pro Bowl and starred in a Super Bowl, and Stefon Diggs has played all of one NFL game.
Nevertheless, Wallace already sees something special in the future for the Minnesota rookie wide receiver.
“He could be better than me,” said Wallace, a seven-year veteran. “He’s young. When I came in (with Pittsburgh in 2009), I was playing well as a young guy, but I had one assignment: Beat them deep. Diggs is already running the full route treatment from Day 1.”
After being inactive for the Vikings’ first three games, Diggs appeared in his first regular-season game in Sunday’s 23-20 loss at Denver. With Charles Johnson out because of sore ribs and Jarius Wright relegated to just one play because a right hand injury, Diggs caught six passes for 87 yards.
The bad news was Diggs’ two fumbles, both of which the Vikings recovered. Other than that, Wallace raved about Diggs’ debut.
“He’s a baller, man,” said Wallace, who had eight catches against the Broncos for 83 yards and a touchdown. “I see it in him, man. He’s a young player, but I’m excited for him. He just has that quick twitch muscle when he gets the ball. He can always do something with it. Great hands. Great route running. He’s a gamer, man. ... I have complete confidence in him. He did a great job. He’s just has got to protect the ball.
“Coming out of Maryland, Diggs was a late round draft pick, going in the fifth round. Having watched him since May, Wallace compared Diggs to Pittsburgh star Antonio Brown, a sixth-round pick in 2010 who led the NFL last season with 129 catches and 1,698 receiving yards.
“When I first got here, he reminded me of Antonio,” said Wallace, Brown’s teammate for three seasons. “I still stand by that, how quick he is and his motor and the routes he runs and just the way he prepares himself, man. He’s got so much energy, and I love that. He can’t sit down. He’s always going full speed.”
Pressed on the subject, Wallace didn’t back down. He said, “Yes, I think (Diggs) can be better than me.”
Diggs was flattered to hear what Wallace had to say about him, but insisted he can’t relax.
“I’m going to keep grinding,” Diggs said. “Compliments like that, if it happens, it happens. It’s in God’s hands. I just appreciate the compliment, but I’ve got to keep working, and you’ve got to prove it on the field.”
If Diggs continues to improve, it could create a quandary at wide receiver for the Vikings, who have a bye in Week 5 and next play Oct. 18 against Kansas City. Johnson and Wright probably will be healthy and ready to go by that game, giving Minnesota great depth at wide receiver.
Also looking good Sunday was Adam Thielen, who had six catches for 70 yards. And the Vikings have Cordarrelle Patterson, who only got in for 17 snaps Sunday and caught one pass for nine yards.
“Everybody better keep grinding,” Wallace said of the competition at wide receiver. “That’s all I can say. You better keep grinding and bring it every day in practice.”
The Pioneer Press is a media partner of Forum News Service.