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Stefon Diggs' role in Vikings offense constantly evolving, and that's good thing

MINNEAPOLIS -- Stefon Diggs didn’t have much time to soak in his two-touchdown performance that sparked the Minnesota Vikings' high-octane prime-time attack Monday.

The receiver was up early the next morning making the rounds to promote his joint venture with CenturyLink and its season-long Boostbox sweepstakes -- prize packs loaded with Vikings swag, tickets to a home game, electronics and a tablet with Diggs’ laser engraved signature.

“I don’t know how much that’s worth,” Diggs joked of the signed tablet, “but it sounds pretty cool.”

If he continues to play the way he did in Week 1, anything with Diggs’ name on it will be a hot commodity.

While it’s too early to start putting labels on what kind of passing offense the Vikings will consistently feature, Week 1 showed signs of a more balanced approach. Quarterback Sam Bradford was accurate and explosive, relying on Diggs and Adam Thielen to ignite big plays.

“It’s exciting,” Diggs said. “I feel like we’ve always had them. It’s just whether we could hit them or not. This year we spent a lot more time with Sam, too. I think that’s a credit to him trusting us and being out there with him. He wasn’t with us but for two weeks before the season started [in 2016].

“This time, he’s been around us for awhile, he trusts us out there, gives us a chance. It’s just about building a relationship.”

Bradford was 16-of-18 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and 10 first downs when targeting Diggs and Thielen in the opener, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Diggs gained 93 yards on seven receptions.

Thielen recorded the second-highest receiving stats in Week 1 with nine receptions for 157 yards, second to Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown. Lining up a majority of the game in the slot, Thielen burned Saints corners with his speed and was among the best at that position in Week 1. Seven of Thielen’s nine receptions came from the slot for 146 yards on 46 percent of the Vikings' pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus.

Diggs and Thielen, the Vikings' 1A and 1B receivers, have essentially swapped roles. Thielen spent a bulk of the preseason lining up in the slot on three-receiver sets while Diggs was the Vikings' outside threat.

Diggs’ role in the offense has been evolving since he arrived in 2015.

Coming out of Maryland, where he played a majority of his time in the slot, Diggs switched to the outside in his rookie season and then moved back into the slot last year. Only 15.4 percent of his routes were run from the slot in 2015 compared to nearly 63 percent from that spot last year, per Pro Football Focus.

It’s his ability to line up in several different spots based on scheme and personnel that gives Bradford the utmost confidence in his wideout.

“Diggs can do really everything in our offense, which I think is a little bit unique about him,” Bradford said. “We feel comfortable with him. He’s got the speed to be a vertical threat and run down the field and run goes [go routes] and posts, but he’s got the quickness to run option routes, to run some different stuff underneath. We saw early in the game with him running some drags, coming across the middle of the field and outrunning some linebackers. I think his ability that allows us to move him all over our formations and use him in different spots, I think that’s probably what’s unique about Diggs.”

Added Diggs: “If they want me outside, I’ll be outside. If they want me inside, I’ll be inside. Just doing my job, trying to make things work. I feel like my job gets easier the more I help my guys out.”