Even with Charles Johnson returning to practice this week and expected to play in the Minnesota Vikings’ NFC North divisional matchup against the Detroit Lions Sunday, rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs is expected to remain the starter opposite Mike Wallace according to Chris Tomassen of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
Johnson was predicted to become Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater go-to guy in 2015 and was highly hyped by fantasy football gurus throughout the preseason but he got little done when the real games began. Johnson has missed the past two games with a rib injury and Diggs seems to have stolen his job in the interim. After being on the inactive list to begin the season, Diggs has 13 catches for 216 yards in his first two NFL games as Johnson’s replacement and offensive coordinator Norv Turner has publicly praised Diggs’ route running and ability to get open. Head coach Mike Zimmer refused to confirm or deny during his press conference Thursday whether Diggs would continue to start over Johnson but his silence seemed to confirm the obvious. Diggs has been seen taking the first-team reps in practice all week.
That doesn’t mean that all is lost for Johnson. He will still be on the field in three-receiver sets and showed in the second half of Bridgewater’s rookie season that he has good chemistry with his QB. Expectations must be tempered, however, as the Vikings are a low-volume passing team which primarily relies on the legs of Adrian Peterson.