The Vikings have traded wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills. Daniel House believes the organization's next steps could define the future. Find out why!
Replacing Stefon Diggs isn’t going to be easy. He is one of the most dynamic wide receivers this organization has ever witnessed.
When Diggs waltzed into the end zone and completed the Minneapolis Miracle, he was viewed as the face of this franchise. However, after all the euphoria wore off, things gradually changed. As time passed, Diggs was growing increasingly frustrated about his role in Minnesota. This year, he was reportedly fined $200,000 for missing practices and meetings. When Diggs returned, he downplayed all of the issues and moved forward. Even though things died down, tension could still be felt throughout the year.
Just a few weeks ago, general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer indicated Diggs was still part of the team’s future. Even when team leaders deflected rumors, Diggs continued to send a variety of cryptic tweets. Over time, everything finally reached a boiling point. A change of scenery was ultimately needed for everyone involved.
The Vikings organization determined it was best for both parties to move on. With any trade featuring Diggs, the biggest questions revolved around the return he would yield.
On Monday night, Minnesota traded Diggs to the Buffalo Bills for 2020 first, fifth and sixth-round picks. The Vikings also received a 2021 fourth-round selection, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Along with Diggs, the Vikings sent a 2020 seventh-round pick (No. 239) to Buffalo, per KSTP’s Darren Wolfson. Minnesota also managed to ship its star wide receiver to the opposite conference. From a financial perspective, trading Diggs only creates $5.5 million in cap space and $9 million in dead money. However, the draft capital Minnesota gained is the biggest takeaway from this trade.
A slew of draft picks
After witnessing the poor return Houston received for star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the compensation for Diggs looks fantastic. When putting all of the new picks together, the Vikings now have 12 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, including five in the first two days:
Round 1: No. 22 - via BUF
Round 1: No. 25
Round 2: No. 58
Round 3: No. 89
Round 3: No. 105
The Vikings need to maximize opportunities during the first three rounds of this draft. Minnesota has the chance to find a dynamic weapon within one of the deepest wide receiver classes in recent memory. With the loss of Diggs, the team needs to quickly build critical depth at wide receiver. Adam Thielen and Olabisi Johnson are currently the main leaders in this position group. The good news is: this draft is filled with elite wide receivers. The Vikings could pick one in the first round or wait until day two or three for value to slide. Not only that, but Spielman is equipped with a plethora of draft resources to move up and down the board. If the Vikings fall in love with a specific player, they have the capital to be creative. Not to mention, one of these picks could be packaged in a deal for another veteran player. Simply put, the Vikings now have assets to patch other areas of the roster.
There is no doubt this draft class could define the future of this franchise. After Monday’s developments, the Vikings need to add multiple instant impact players to fill critical roster holes. Wide receiver, cornerback, defensive tackle and offensive tackle/guard are a few positions that come to mind. Outside of cornerback and guard, each of those positions feature excellent draft depth. The first five selections in this draft cycle will need to contribute in 2020. Additionally, player development is equally important. Young players are going to play important roles and must be quickly maximized.
At the end of the day, trading Diggs isn’t easy. He is a premier wide receiver and arguably one of the best route runners in the NFL. The amount of draft resources Minnesota received for Diggs illustrated his value. In order to compensate for losing a star playmaker, the Vikings need to nail the 2020 draft and correctly utilize the capital they received. When we review this trade in a few years, it could turn out to be a defining moment for the Vikings. The overall outcome of trading Diggs will be determined by how the franchise moves forward from all of this.
Was a change of scenery best for both parties? We are about to find out.