EAGAN, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings locked up another core player with a long-term contract Tuesday, signing wide receiver Stefon Diggs to a five-year extension and moving the star of the "Minneapolis Miracle" pass into the NFL's top 10 highest-paid players at his position.
Diggs has yet to post a 1,000-yard or 100-catch season, but his ability was on full display when he turned a sideline catch into a 61-yard touchdown as time ran out to lift the Vikings to victory over New Orleans in last season's playoffs. Selected in the fifth round out of Maryland in 2015, Diggs has been one of the biggest steals of that draft. He formed a prolific tandem with Adam Thielen last year, helping Case Keenum stabilize the passing game after Sam Bradford was injured.
Now the Vikings have a new quarterback in Kirk Cousins, who was elated by the news that Diggs is under contract through 2023.
"What I most like is he loves football and loves to come and work, because as a quarterback it can be miserable if you're out here with someone who is here to just get a paycheck and leave," Cousins said. "He wants to work."
The Vikings offense was at the new practice facility on Monday night past 9 p.m.
"I've been a part of some locker rooms where by 9 o'clock, some of your guys are sleeping in the back row, not taking notes, not paying attention. They're basically checked out, texting or whatever," Cousins said. "That's not him. That's not these guys."
The new deal is valued at $72 million plus an additional $9 million in possible incentives, according to a person with knowledge of the contract who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details have not been released publicly. Diggs, who will play the final season of his rookie deal for the original base salary of slightly more than $1.9 million, received a $15 million signing bonus.
Since Cousins signed his fully guaranteed $84 million contract in March, the Vikings have signed linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter and now Diggs to multi-year deals. The Vikings now have Cousins, Diggs, Thielen, running back Dalvin Cook, left tackle Riley Reiff, right guard Mike Remmers and center Pat Elflein all under team control through at least the 2020 season. On defense, the same goes for Hunter, Kendricks, defensive end Everson Griffen, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith.
That's a lot of star power to squeeze under the salary cap.
"Continuity, to me, is very important, and it's not a luxury we have in the NFL these days," Cousins said. "There is a lot of change year in and year out, so I've come to expect that and understand you can't use that as an excuse."