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Anthony Barr or Stefon Diggs: (If) There Can Be Only One

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There might not be enough money for both

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With the contract extensions given to linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Danielle Hunter, the Minnesota Vikings have not been shy about making sure they keep as many of their talented core pieces as possible. However, they still have a couple of players that they need to tend to, and there might not be enough money to go around. Yes, we know that Rob Brzezinski is a salary cap ninja, but even he has to stay within the confines of the NFL’s salary cap rules.

So, with the impetus provided by Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN, we’re going to pose this question:

If the Minnesota Vikings can only keep one of the two, should they focus on linebacker Anthony Barr or wide receiver Stefon Diggs?

Zulgad goes through the pros and cons of both, and comes to this conclusion:

If the Vikings decide they can only keep one between Barr and Diggs, the vote here would be to give Diggs the long-term contract.

Barr continues to have the potential to be fantastic, but that means four years into his career we continue to talk about what could be as opposed to what he’s done. Zimmer has put together a fantastic defense and many of the key pieces still will be in place if Barr departs. The Vikings offense and Cousins, meanwhile, will suffer if Diggs is elsewhere.

To be honest, I think that Zulgad has come to the right conclusion here. Here’s my reasoning.

We know Barr has been pretty damn good when he’s been on the field. He had a down year in 2016, which has mostly be chalked up to dealing with injuries, but came back pretty strong in 2017. Nobody blows up screen passes quite like Barr does, and he’s gotten to be much better in coverage and against the run over the course of the four years he’s been in Minnesota. Now, it sounds like the Vikings are going to give him more opportunities to line up on the edge and rush the passer, which could only potentially add to his value.

Diggs, from what we’ve seen of him over the three seasons he’s been in Minnesota, has probably not even come close to his ceiling. He’s missed games with injuries and been slowed a bit in others, but we’ve all seen what he’s capable of. He’s a top-notch route runner, he has outstanding hands, and there are very few defensive backs in the league that can hang with him. He might not have amazing on-field numbers yet, but he’s certainly capable of them.

Based on the value of the position, there’s more to be gained for the Vikings by signing Diggs sooner rather than later. Wide receivers are fetching significantly more on the open market than linebackers are, and if Diggs puts together the sort of season he’s capable of with Kirk Cousins at the helm. . .meaning he stays healthy for all 16 games and jumps into the realm of the NFL’s best wide receivers. . .it’s going to cost a lot to keep him around. On the other hand, Barr is playing this season on his $12.3 million fifth-year option, and I honestly don’t think that the deal he’d get on the open market would be much more than that.

That and, as Zulgad points out, the Vikings defense could more easily absorb the loss of Barr than the offense would be able to absorb the loss of Diggs. After Diggs and Adam Thielen at receiver, the Vikings. . .don’t have a whole heck of a lot. Laquon Treadwell? Kendall Wright? Stacy Coley? An assortment of practice squad guys? Diggs and Thielen are one of the league’s best wide receiver tandems, if not the best, and keeping the two of them together would be a huge boon to the Vikings’ offense going forward.

That’s just one man’s opinion, though. What do you think of the matter?

Poll

If the Minnesota Vikings can only keep one of them, should they primarily focus on

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    LB Anthony Barr
    (338 votes)
  • 87%
    WR Stefon Diggs
    (2454 votes)
2792 votes total Vote Now