Stefon Diggs’ 2019 Trade Request Was Not Kirk Cousins Fault

Photo: Roger Steinman - Associated Press

It’s been 2.5 years since Stefon Diggs tweeted his way out of Minnesota. But questions still surround his exit. For example, we know Diggs wanted out because he wasn’t being featured enough in the Vikings offense.

But we’ve never gotten a sure answer on exactly who his grievances were against. Was Kirk Cousins not looking to him enough or was Mike Zimmer’s run-first, don’t take risks mindest the problem? It’s likely a combination of many factors.

Kirk Cousins: ‘Wasn’t Me’

No matter, Diggs was eventually shipped off to the Buffalo Bills where he and Josh Allen have flourished together. So with the Minnesota Vikings playing in Buffalo this weekend, Kirk Cousins was asked by media if he took Diggs’ trade requests personally, back then.

That’s when Cousins went off-script a bit, confessing to the room what Stefon told him “way, way, way” early on in his trade request process, back then. That whoever his grievances were aimed at, it wasn’t the starting QB who Diggs had a problem with (transcript below video).

Reporter: “Do you take it personally as a quarterback when your wide receiver wants to explore other opportunities like [Stefon Diggs did]?

Cousins: “[Diggs] made it pretty clear from the start that, [his trade request] had nothing to do with [me]. We talked about it. Uhh… In pro sports there’s a level that players need to protect themselves and lookout for themselves and their careers. I understand that and everybody in this locker room does so I understood where he was coming from.”

Reporter: “How did {Diggs} make it clear that [the trade request] wasn’t about you at all?”

Cousins: “Uhh, he told me, ‘it has nothing to do with you’. And I said, ‘OK, I understand’. That was how it happened.”

Reporter: “Did he call you like the day of the trade?”

Cousins: “No, months before that. No, I’m talking way way way back. I mean, he missed a week of practice, I think.”

Kirk Cousins Press Conference on Wednesday
Kirk Indulges in Diggs Trade History

This wasn’t the happy-go-lucky interview we’ve seen Kirk do a lot of recently. This exchange gets a little bit awkward, possibly even hostile. Especially when Cousins is asked how Diggs communicated to Kirk that he wasn’t the problem (2nd quote above).

Cousins would go on later in the press conference to put a timeline on Diggs 2019 trade request and its aftermath. According to Kirk, Stefon played with the Vikings for multiple weeks after first requesting his trade.

He reminded media that Stefon skipped a week of practice back in 2019 and that’s when he made his desires clear to the front office. Kirk said that he was thankful Spielman refused to trade him immediately, instead waiting until the offseason to deal him.

Win/Win Trade

That’s because, if you remember, #14 stacked a bunch of good games together from week 4 to week 13, while Adam Thielen was dealing with injuries. Diggs helped will the Vikings into the playoffs that season, where they beat the Saints in round one.

As Kirk Cousins pointed out multiple times in his presser, this trade is one of those rare scenarios where everybody involved went home a winner. The Minnesota Vikings got rid of an unhappy commodity and used the first round pick they got in return to draft Justin Jefferson.

Stefon Diggs got a new employer and an offense that has thrown the ball to him more often than any other receiver in football. 2.5 years later, both teams have just one loss on their record and are matched up for the best game of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan