Mike Zimmer: Vikings Had No Intention of Trading Stefon Diggs Before Bills Offer

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2020

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR NFL - Stefon Diggs arrives the 9th Annual NFL Honors at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (Joy Asico/AP Images for NFL)
Joy Asico/Associated Press

Stefon Diggs would still be in Minnesota if the Buffalo Bills didn't bowl over the Vikings with a trade offer,  Mike Zimmer said Thursday.

The Vikings head coach told Rich Eisen:

"Diggs did not have to go. We didn't really any intention of trading him. Quite honestly, he put out a couple tweets, and there's some things going on there. ... What happened was Buffalo came in and gave us all those picks, and we were up against it with 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]."

The Bills sent first-, fifth- and sixth-round picks in 2020 and a fourth-round pick in 2021 to Minnesota for Diggs and a seventh-rounder. There had been longstanding rumors that Diggs wanted out of Minnesota, including a March 16 tweet that called for a "new beginning."

The Vikings traded him soon after. Despite Diggs' public frustrations with the team, Zimmer said he would not categorize him as a "pain in the butt."

"If you said somebody was a pain in the butt, you probably wouldn't say him," Zimmer said. "I've been around way worse guys than him, and I hope he has a great career and finishes up strong."

Minnesota's haul for Diggs instantly looked like a major win after the Houston Texans sent DeAndre Hopkins, a superior receiver in every respect, to the Arizona Cardinals without receiving a first-round pick in exchange. While there were mitigating circumstances in Houston—namely the questionable job Bill O'Brien is doing in running the front office—the Bills paid a hefty price for Diggs.

The Vikings will hope Jefferson can build on his brilliant junior season at LSU and replace Diggs as Kirk Cousins' No. 2 receiver behind Adam Thielen. Jefferson compiled 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019 on his way All-SEC second-team honors.

The Bills are banking on Diggs' presence being the thing that helps turn Josh Allen into a viable NFL passer in his third season.