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Vikings' Diggs hoping to match success of younger brother

MINNEAPOLIS -- These are heady times for the Diggs brothers of Gaithersburg, Md. Trevon the freshman is coming off a big punt-returning performance for undefeated Alabama, which will defend its national championship as the No. 1 seed in the upcom...

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions defeated the Vikings 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions defeated the Vikings 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS - These are heady times for the Diggs brothers of Gaithersburg, Md.

Trevon the freshman is coming off a big punt-returning performance for undefeated Alabama, which will defend its national championship as the No. 1 seed in the upcoming College Football Playoff Championship.

What would make big brother happier is if Stefon can help Minnesota, 6-6 after a 5-0 start, pull out of its two-month funk with a pivotal victory at Jacksonville on Sunday.

"Just winning," Diggs said. "If we get that done maybe I'll smile a little more."

Diggs was back at work Tuesday with the Vikings after returning from a knee injury in Thursday's loss to Dallas. He caught eight passes for just 59 yards against the Cowboys as Minnesota's downfield passing attack remained a mirage. Nothing is worse than losing and not playing at all.

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"It was good to get back out there with my guys, bringing that energy to the game," he said. "Things didn't go the way we wanted it to. Only thing we can do from here out is win."

Diggs traveled to Atlanta last Saturday to watch his younger brother and the Crimson Tide crush Florida 54-16 in the SEC championship game. Trevor Diggs, a blue-chip recruit as a receiver, averaged 30 yards on three punt returns and delivered a crushing tackle on special teams.

"My first time seeing him play and first time seeing him in eight months," Diggs said. "It was exciting. I want more for him. He had a nice little hit in the game and I was like, OK, getting a little tough on me now. I'm getting scared now."

Diggs, who went to his home-state school Maryland, was asked what he would do if his younger brother won a national championship ring.

"I'm going to take it from him," he joked. "I'm just happy for him. Having a little brother, it's big to see him do so well and be a part of it. He just turned 18."

Stefon just turned 23 last week, and the 2015 fifth-round draft pick is a playmaker on an injury-ravaged Vikings offense devoid of them.

His 52 receptions in 2015 were the third-most in franchise history by a rookie, behind Randy Moss (69) and Percy Harvin (60). This season he is tied with Jarvis Landry of the Dolphers and Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants for fourth in the league with 75 catches.

In Weeks 1 and 2, Diggs became just the third receiver in team history to have back-to-back games of 100 yards or more receiving and the first since Cris Carter in 1997.

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No receiver has eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards since Sidney Rice racked up 1,312 catching balls from Brett Favre during that magical 2009 season. Diggs has four games to get there.

"You telling me those numbers is the first time I'm hearing them," he said. "My main focus is the next game and doing everything I can to win and putting my team in a position to win no matter if I have zero catches or 100 catches."

Diggs did know who he was chasing, though.

"Sidney Rice. I do my homework," he said with a wry smile.

Diggs' budding production, fierce competitive streak and magnetic personality have him cashing in with endorsement deals. He has a swagger but not too much of the diva personality that defines some of the NFL's most prolific pass catchers.

"He's one of the hardest-working guys on our team," said fellow receiver Adam Thielen. "It's a lot of stuff people don't see. That's why he's been so successful. He's such a great guy on and off the field. When you're a hard-working guy, it's hard to get too big or over the top."

Diggs' strength is coming down with balls in tight coverage and gobbling up yards after the catch. Creating separation has become more challenging in recent weeks as opposing defenses attack Minnesota's porous pass protection and hurry quarterback Sam Bradford.

Defensive backs are sitting on Minnesota's receivers without having to fret about accounting for a non-existent rushing attack.

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"There's no room for error in any offense, especially if you want to do well and score points," Diggs said. "Everybody's in a different position. We've got to move the ball downfield and score touchdowns. Make it as simple as possible. Offense has to score touchdowns.

"I can't do anything different than what I've been doing. I can't rush anything. I can't be late. I've got to be where I'm supposed to be at all times so I can be reliable for my quarterback."

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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