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Diggs becomes Hill's favorite target

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It did not take long for Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs to become the favorite target for quarterback of the moment Shaun Hill.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggscarries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggscarries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium. (Photo by Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports)

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - It did not take long for Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs to become the favorite target for quarterback of the moment Shaun Hill.

The second-year pro led Minnesota with seven catches for 103 yards in its 25-16 victory over Tennessee on Sunday, the third time last year's top pass catcher has eclipsed 100 receiving yards in a game.

Not that he's counting.

"Nah, it actually just makes me want to work a lot harder," Diggs said Monday. "If you limit yourself to whatever I had then, that's (only) what you're going to be working toward. I don't have too many expectations as far as numbers. I just try to play at a high level each and every play."

Hill led a pedestrian but secure passing attack (18 for 33, 236 yards) starting Week 1 in place of the injured Teddy Bridgewater, who made Diggs his go-to option in 2015.

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After being inactive his first three games in the NFL, Diggs flourished after being activated Week 4 to replace an injured Charles Johnson. He averaged six receptions and 105 yards in his first four games, accounting for more than half of his 720 yards in 13 games.

But Diggs' production steadily declined as defenses rolled more coverages to nullify the speedy and versatile playmaker. On Sunday, he found ways to get open for Hill, who challenged the Titans to stop him wherever Diggs lined up - outside, slot or in motion.

"It's good to break the ice a little bit and get back out there," he said.

Coach Mike Zimmer said Diggs is growing into a reliable position player, someone who does a lot of "dirty work" such as blocking out of different formations.

"He's tough after the catch. He's hard to get down," Zimmer said. "He thinks he's a pretty tough guy, so he's going to try to run through a couple more guys if he can."

No surprise for a guy notorious for pushing full speed in walk-through practices where most teammates barely break a sweat. Or for a receiver who converted 10 first downs with his first 13 receptions as a rookie.

Diggs is the only receiver whose locker is located between Hill's and newly acquired quarterback Sam Bradford, which is probably a good thing. The Vikings will continue evaluating and dividing practice reps between the two signal callers this week in preparation for Sunday's home opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Again, not that Diggs is counting.

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"It doesn't really matter who's back there," he said.

Is that true?

"Yeah, it's true. Because it doesn't matter," he added. "You've got to do your job. All I can focus on is catching the ball. I can't throw the ball. I trust the guys out there are going to take the right steps. I don't play quarterback. I don't know every little thing. They've got to trust me. I've got to make the plays they throw

"That's point-blank true."

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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