Mike Zimmer on Stefon Diggs: "We Really Didn't Have Any Intention of Trading Him"

Will Ragatz

There seems to be a perception from national observers that Stefon Diggs was a negative presence in the locker room who the Vikings felt they had to trade. In reality, that was far from the case, as many members of the organization and reporters have made clear in the two-plus months since the star receiver was traded to the Bills.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer became the latest to comment on the situation in a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. When Eisen asked Zimmer "why did Diggs have to go?" the coach corrected that wording.

"Honestly, Diggs did not have to go," Zimmer said. "We really didn't have any intention of trading him. Quite honestly, he put out a couple tweets, and there's some things going on there, but Stefon works extremely hard. He practices like crazy. He wants the ball, like all receivers do. What happened was Buffalo came in and gave us all those picks, and we were up against it on the salary cap, so we just felt like we could save some money, get a bunch of picks and maybe get a young receiver like [Justin Jefferson] that we got."

Zimmer's account of what happened lines up with everything else we've heard since Diggs was traded. The Vikings didn't want to part ways with one of their best players, an elite receiver in his prime who happened to be a fan favorite. That's why they repeatedly shut down trade inquiries from other teams back when Diggs was skipping practices in October 2019.

But the situation changed when Diggs tweeted "it's time for a new beginning" on March 16th, and followed that up by saying "something's going to happen" this time. The Bills saw the tweets, reached out to the Vikings, and a trade came together in a matter of hours. It ended up being too good of a deal for Minnesota to pass up.

That's what the trade was about – Diggs clearly wanted a change of scenery, and the deal benefited both sides. He had a few sideline antics and the October incident for which he was fined, but the Vikings didn't have anything against Diggs. They valued what he brought to the team, on and off the field.

"I wish him well," Zimmer said. "He's a good kid, he worked hard for me. Really, if you said somebody was a 'pain in the butt,' you probably wouldn't say him. I've been around way worse guys than him. I hope he has a great career and finishes up strong."

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