Kirk Cousins calls the Vikings’ trade of Stefon Diggs a ‘win-win’ situation

Kirk Cousins recently opened up for the first time about the Vikings’ decision to trade receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught 165 passes for 2,151 yards and 15 touchdowns during his two seasons with Cousins in Minnesota. Last month, the Vikings traded Diggs and a 2020 seventh-round pick to the Bills in exchange for first, fifth and sixth-round picks in this year’s draft along with a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Cousins, who signed a two-year extension with the Vikings earlier this offseason, called the team’s decision to trade Diggs a “win-win” situation. Diggs got a chance to play for a new team, while the Vikings were able to receive draft picks in return.

“It’s a unique dynamic,” Cousins said of what transpired between the Vikngs and Diggs, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “It became apparent that he wanted to play elsewhere, and I think it was smart of the Vikings to grant him that opportunity. I think it wasn’t a mystery, and that’s OK, and I wish him really well. I just so enjoyed playing with him. He’s a special player, and we now have to find a way to move forward and replace that. 

“We’re always looking for win-wins, whether that was with my contract or in Stefon’s situation. It didn’t seem to be able to work going forward as it was, so we tried to find the best win-win that we could.”

After temporarily leaving the Vikings during the 2019 season, Diggs’ cryptic actions on social media earlier this offseason apparently convinced the Vikings to part with the veteran receiver. And when considering what the Steelers received for Antonio Brown (third and fifth-round picks from the Raiders) last offseason and what the Texans received from the Cardinals in exchange for DeAndre Hopkins (second and fourth-round picks and running back David Johnson) earlier this offseason, it’s safe to say that the Vikings got back a considerable amount of compensation for the 26-year-old Diggs, who recorded a career-high 1,130 yards in 15 games during the 2019 regular season.

While he understands why the trade of Diggs had to be made, Cousins expressed disappointment with no longer having him as a teammate in Minnesota. Cousins said that he texted Diggs shortly after the trade went down while saying that he was “as good as any receiver I’ve played with.” Cousins praised what Diggs was able to do last season after fellow receiver Adam Thielen was forced to miss six games with a hamstring injury.

With Thielen out, Diggs had arguably his best game of the 2019 season, catching all seven of his targets for 143 yards in the Vikings’ Week 8 win over the Redskins. Three weeks later, with Thielen still on the mend, Diggs caught all five of his targets for 121 yards and a score in Minnesota’s four-point win over the visiting Broncos. Diggs’ play, particularly down the stretch last season, helped the Vikings secure a wild card berth.

“(Diggs) was electric,” said Cousins, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection last season. “The guys who have those movement skills don’t grow on trees. But you can find other ways to do things. I think one great example is when when we lost Adam for six or seven weeks, you watched our offense evolve.”

While Diggs will look to make a connection with Bills quarterback Josh Allen, Cousins (whose contract extension saved the Vikings about $10 million in cap space this offseason) is hopeful that recently acquired receiver Tajae Sharpe — who caught 92 passes and eight touchdowns in three seasons with the Titans — can help make up for the loss of Diggs. Cousins added that he expects the Vikings — who own the 22nd and 25th overall picks in the draft — to select “multiple receivers” during the draft.

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