As part of their preparations for the 2020 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings traded star receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo for the No. 22 overall pick, which they used on LSU wideout Justin Jefferson.
Diggs has dominated alongside Josh Allen and gathered 3,617 yards and 25 touchdowns since the trade, earning a league-high 413 targets and a total of 413 targets. It was a record-breaking rookie season for Jefferson, who has accumulated 3,883 yards and 20 touchdowns since 2020.
The two wideouts share mutual admiration ahead of Sunday’s matchup between the Bills and Vikings — Diggs’ first time facing his former team.
“When you’re a receiver playing at a high level, you can’t help but notice other guys playing at a high level,” Diggs said Wednesday of Jefferson.
In Jefferson’s words, “I just love the way he carries himself. He wants to be out there making plays for his team, and I can’t argue with him. I got to know him better after trading with him. I really do love him as a person and respect his game, and I only want the highest for him.”
Jefferson and Diggs rank first and second in receiving yards versus man coverage since 2020, per Next Gen Stats. Jefferson has 1,468 yards, and Diggs has 1,369 yards versus man coverage.
Kirk Cousins said both teams were better when Diggs was replaced by Jefferson.
I think Stefon felt that he wanted a different opportunity, and I think his performance in Buffalo would suggest that’s worked out well for him. Cousins said losing him was tough, but getting Justin made it a bit less painful with the way Justin is playing.
The big question in Sunday’s reunion is whether Diggs will be catching passes from Allen, who hasn’t practiced this week due to an elbow injury. During the 2017 Minnesota Miracle, Case Keenum connected famously with Diggs, but he won’t play if he can’t.
A potential matchup with his former team doesn’t bother Keenum, who has played for seven teams.
“I’ve played a lot of former teams,” Keenum joked. “That’s what happens when you have a lot of former teams.”