The Diggs Trade Remainder: What to Watch in Draft for Vikings

Stefon Diggs
Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs/ Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Because Justin Jefferson was so successful for the Minnesota Vikings in 2020, many folks believe that the Stefon Diggs trade from the spring of 2020 was an “even exchange” of Jefferson for Diggs.

This is wildly false.

The Diggs trade is about half complete — for the Vikings sake. The other teams directly involved in the deal (the Buffalo Bills) and those indirectly affected (Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears) are “done” with their respective sides of the transaction. All other teams received Stefon Diggs (Bills), Dane Jackson (Bills) Trevis Gibson (Bears), James Proche (Ravens), and Geno Stone (Ravens).

Buffalo traded the 22nd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, as well as 4th-Round, 5th-Round, and 6th-Round selections in the same draft to the Vikings. The Bills received a 7th-Round pick (Dane Jackson) along with Diggs. The Vikings used the 22nd pick to nab Justin Jefferson and then played a bunch of hopscotch via trade thereafter. All told, general manager Rick Spielman wound up with Jefferson, Kenny Willekes (DE) from the 7th Round of last year’s draft, and three draft picks in the 2021 NFL Draft that will materialize at the end of the month. 

And those picks are a 4th-Round selection (125th overall), another 4th-Round pick (134th overall), and a 5th-Rounder (168th overall). That last one is a wee bit poetic as Diggs — who departed to Buffalo — was scooped out of the 5th Round six years ago.

If Spielman does nothing with trades involving these picks (probably a longshot considering Spielman’s habits), the Vikings have three players to choose in rounding out the Diggs trade.

For some examples, let’s look at some of this offseason’s mock drafts. From a mock draft by The Draft Network in March. TDN’s Ryan Fowler sent these men to the Vikings with the 125th, 134th, and 168th picks:

Walker Little, OT (Sanford)
Tre Brown, CB (Oklahoma)
Joshua Bledsoe, S (Missouri)

Or — in another mock draft — The Vikings Age‘s Adam Patrick plops these players in Minnesota with the 125th, 134th, and 168th picks:

Sage Surratt, WR (Wake Forest)
Jaylen Twyman, DT (Pittsburgh)
Sadarius Hutcherson, OL (South Carolina)

Additionally, the Vikings do not own a 2nd-Round pick because their organic 2021 2nd-Rounder was sent to the Jacksonville Jaguars for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue late last summer. Ngakoue played six games for the Vikings and got the hell out of dodge to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a 3rd-Round 2021 draft pick. He didn’t stay long in Baltimore either. Ngakoue signed with the Las Vegas Raiders during free agency, securing membership with his fourth NFL team in seven months.

Why is this mentionable? Because one of the upcoming Diggs-trade fragments could be used to get back into the 2nd Round. Keep an eye on it.

Spielman has enjoyed tremendous success in the 2nd Round, drafting players like Kyle Rudolph, Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Cook, Brian O’Neill and others.

The idea that the Vikings received Jefferson for Diggs and “called it good” is a straight fallacy. Jefferson comprises the first half of the transaction — and the introduction has been a mighty one. The LSU alumnus set an NFL rookie record for receiving yards (1,400) in 2020. Diggs thrived, too. He became the focal point of the Bills offense — a franchise that reached its first AFC Championship in about a quarter-century.

If you’re a visual learner, here is the entirety of the Diggs trade.