Publish date:

Comparing 2018 to 2019 for Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen

A dominant running game means Thielen and Diggs don't have to do it all anymore.
Stefon Diggs

Winning often requires sacrifices, and that's definitely the story for the star-studded duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs with the Vikings this season. 

Last year, when Minnesota's running game was one of the worst in the NFL, Thielen and Diggs were two of the few bright spots on an 8-win team. This year, the Vikings have the league's most potent rushing attack, thus eliminating the need to constantly rely on Thielen and Diggs to move the chains. 

Diggs was targeted just twice in the opener, seven times against the Packers and just three times versus the Raiders. That's 12 targets and a total of six catches for Diggs. Through three weeks a year ago, Diggs had 16 receptions and had been targeted 29 times. 

  • Diggs through Week 3 in 2018: 16 catches, 188 yards, 3 TD, 29 targets
  • Diggs through Week 3 in 2019: 6 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD, 12 targets

Thielen sprinted out of the gates last season with an NFL record-tying eight straight 100-yard games. But he's seen an even bigger drop in target shares this season, as Cousins has thrown the ball his direction just 16 times compared to a ridiculous 44 times in the first three games of 2018. 

  • Thielen through Week 3 in 2018: 32 catches, 338 yards, 1 TD, 44 targets
  • Thielen through Week 3 in 2019: 11 catches, 173 yards, 2 TD, 16 targets

All of this is good news for a team hoping to be a factor in the NFC playoffs, and perhaps set sights on a Super Bowl. But it's really bad news for anyone rostering Thielen or Diggs on their fantasy football team. More on that from CBS Sports

"But, unless things start going south in a hurry, Diggs and Thielen just aren't going to get the target volume they need to be top-12 options at receiver. The Vikings were sixth-most pass-happy team in the league in 2018, which allowed both Diggs and Thielen to approach 150 targets. Even if, and/or when the Vikings have to throw it more moving forward, they probably aren't going to be one of the league leaders in pass attempts again. Maybe we should have seen this coming."

Then again, there will undoubtedly be big performances to come for two of the most dynamic wide receivers in the NFL. Just don't expect it as often since the Vikings are on a pace to throw few passes than last year's Seahawks, who attempted an NFL low 427 passes, which was 179 fewer than the Vikings. 

Minnesota's 63 pass attempts through three games is far and away the lowest in the NFL. The next lowest is Chicago with 72 attempts, but they've yet to play their third game. 

Perhaps the number of attempts increase in the coming weeks as the Vikings face three of the seven-worst pass defenses (Giants, Eagles, Redskins). Of course, the Giants and Redskins have two of the worst rush defenses in the league, so don't bet on it. 

Next Up

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.

CDC biohazard scientist health work

New clue may explain how rare tropical disease sickened Minnesotan

The disease, known as melioidosis, killed 2 people earlier this year.

Sen Mark Koran crop

MN lawmaker encourages donations for locals charged in Jan. 6 insurrection

"They are a good family!" Sen. Mark Koran wrote Friday.


Money Gal Coaching: Mastering the spiritual parts of money

Kelly Blodgett used her passion behind becoming debt free to launch Money Gal Coaching.

University of minnesota sign

U of M will now require proof that employees have been vaccinated for COVID

Previously, only students were required to be vaccinated.

Jim Hagedorn

Report reveals details about ethics investigation into Rep. Hagedorn

The congressman described the report's findings as "unfounded conclusions."


SkyWest cancels hundreds of flights due to server error

More than 80 have been canceled at MSP Airport.


First elk in more than 100 years spotted in parts of southern WI

The elk population was reintroduced to Wisconsin in recent decades.

grand marais

10 beautiful Minnesota cities to visit for outdoor adventures

These places are perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.


Why Thielen and Diggs are giving us flashbacks to '98

By the numbers, Thielen and Diggs are rivaling Moss and Carter in '98.

Adam Thielen

History says Adam Thielen will shred the Packers

The years keep changing and Thielen keeps torching Green Bay.

Stefon Diggs misses practice again with knee injury

Diggs must've hurt his knee on Sunday against Green Bay.

Adam Thielen unstoppable again as Vikings top Cards

Thielen had his sixth straight 100-yard game to start the season.

Compare: Adam Thielen's 2018 to Marvin Harrison's 2002

Harrison set the record for most catches in a season in 2002