EAGAN, Minn. — After dealing with a frustrating 2-2 start and struggles on offense, the Minnesota Vikings reached a boiling point six days ago.
Following the loss at the Chicago Bears and another anemic offensive performance that produced six points, players and coaches were left grappling with what has gone wrong through four games.
Wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen were virtual nonfactors for most of the game against the bears. While Diggs caught seven passes for 108 yards and had an untimely fumble, very little of that production helped the offense capitalize. Thielen had his lowest output — two receptions for six yards — since December 2015, as Cousins missed him on a handful of deep throws.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Diggs was seen yelling on the sideline as Cousins threw another checkdown on third-and-long and the offense was going nowhere. Thielen sat by himself on a bench away from his quarterback.
What had been a dominating run game for Minnesota was held to a season-low 40 yards. And Thielen, who produced eight consecutive 100-yard games last season, has yet to reach that mark this season.
Cousins apologized to his receiver for not executing plays to him, including an overthrown deep ball that would have resulted in a touchdown and tied the game at 7 had the play been made.
Cousins also said he looks forward to giving Thielen and Diggs more opportunities in the weeks ahead.
The Vikings, still not past all their apologizing, were back in the building preparing for the Giants.
Coach Mike Zimmer was asked in his news conference about Cousins apologizing to teammates in a public forum.
Multiple sources told espn that the Vikings are not looking to trade Diggs, for a handful of reasons, one being that he is in the second year of the five-year extension he signed in July 2018. He also is a big part of the team’s offensive plan, despite what early numbers show.
Diggs was in the building, and he had a cold.
The wideout was spotted coming off the field after morning walk-through and broke his silence after more than two weeks of not talking to the media. Wearing a hoodie tied around his face, he fielded questions for six minutes.
Stefon Diggs brushes off questions about the speculations that he wants to be traded, but says there’s truth to all rumors.
The receiver addressed his role in the offense after his target share was down in the first four games of the season from where it was at last year. Diggs has caught 13 of his 19 targets for 209 yards and a touchdown. In the Vikings’ first four games of the 2018 season, he had 44 targets, 27 catches and 311 yards.
“I can’t sit up here and act like everything is OK,” Diggs said. “It’s obviously not. But what I can say at this point, just trying to work through it.”
When addressing rumors and speculation over whether he wants out of Minnesota, the receiver kept deferring to the same phrase: “There’s truth to all rumors.”
So, did he himself demand a trade?
“I haven’t communicated anything. The conversations I’ve had [with the Vikings] have only been about team and trying to have success on the field.”
What about his agent?
“I haven’t spoke to him about it,” Diggs said. “You’ve got to talk to him.”
Bottom line, does he want to be here?
Diggs was a full participant in practice on Thursday, but as the other receivers, Thielen included, stayed after to catch passes from Cousins, Diggs worked on his own with practice squad quarterback Jake Browning.
The line of questioning was as follows at Zimmer’s final news conference of the week.
Will Stefon Diggs play this week?
Did he look like himself in practice?
What are you basing his availability on?
So Diggs being able to play is based on how he looks over punishment for not being at practice on Wednesday for non-injury-related reasons?