StaTuesday: Vikings duo Diggs, Thielen nearing monumental milestones

For much of the 1990s and into the 2000s, the Minnesota Vikings were stacked at wide receiver.

Jake Reed, Cris Carter and Randy Moss dominated opposing secondaries and set just about every franchise record.

But after Moss was traded away in 2005, the talent at wide receiver suffered for over a decade. Names like Troy Williamson, Greg Jennings and Bernard Berrian came to Minnesota with big expectations but never lived up to the hype.

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Over a decade later, the Vikings turned to two players to reshape their wide receiver skillset — the undrafted Adam Thielen and former fifth-round pick Stefon Diggs.

With two games to play in the 2018 season, Diggs is 36 yards away from registering 1,000 receiving yards on the season. He would become the 11th different Vikings player (10th wide receiver) to reach the milestone in a single season, joining Thielen, who’s done it back-to-back years.

If Diggs can reach the milestone, he and Thielen would go down as the fourth pairing in Vikings history to rack up 1,000 yards apiece in the same season and the ninth time overall. It hasn’t been done since Moss tallied 1,437 yards and Carter added 1,274 yards in 2000 — when Thielen and Diggs were 10 and seven years old.

YEAR PLAYER REC YARDS YD/REC TD
1981 Joe Senser 79 1,004 12.7 8
1981 Sammy White 66 1,001 15.2 3
1994 Cris Carter 122 1,256 10.3 7
1994 Jake Reed 85 1,175 13.8 4
1995 Cris Carter 122 1,371 11.2 17
1995 Jake Reed 72 1,167 16.2 9
1996 Cris Carter 96 1,163 12.1 10
1996 Jake Reed 72 1,320 18.3 7
1997 Cris Carter 89 1,069 12.0 13
1997 Jake Reed 68 1,138 16.7 6
1998 Cris Carter 78 1,011 13.0 12
1998 Randy Moss 69 1,313 19.0 17
1999 Cris Carter 90 1,241 13.8 13
1999 Randy Moss 80 1,413 17.7 11
2000 Cris Carter 96 1,274 13.3 9
2000 Randy Moss 77 1,437 18.7 15

And here’s how Thielen and Diggs stack up:

YEAR PLAYER REC YARDS YD/REC TD
2018 Adam Thielen* 105 1,255 12.0 9
2018 Stefon Diggs* 92 964 10.5 7

But that’s not the only milestone the two receivers are approaching. If Diggs catches eight more passes, he’ll reach the century mark in receptions.

Only three different Vikings receivers have tallied 100+ catches in a season: Carter, Moss and Thielen. Carter and Moss did it two times apiece, and Thielen has 105 and counting this year. But Carter and Moss never reached the milestone in the same season.

In fact, two receivers on the same team have tallied 100+ catches three times in NFL history, the most recent example being Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas in 2014 — Peyton Manning’s third year in Denver.

YEAR TEAM PLAYER REC YARDS YD/REC TD
1995 Lions Brett Perriman 108 1,488 13.8 9
1995 Lions Herman Moore 123 1,686 13.7 14
2005 Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald 103 1,409 13.7 10
2005 Cardinals Anquan Boldin 102 1,402 13.8 7
2014 Broncos Emmanuel Sanders 101 1,404 13.9 9
2014 Broncos Demaryius Thomas 111 1,619 14.6 11

Diggs and Thielen will have to race Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown. Both receivers are chasing the 100-catch mark — JuJu has 95 catches and Brown has 90.

Eight catches for 36 yards over the final two games doesn’t seem like a huge challenge for Diggs, even if he faces Detroit’s elite corner Darius Slay this week and a red-hot Chicago Bears secondary in the regular-season finale.

But if he can pull it off, Diggs and Thielen can officially ink their names as the Vikings’ best duo since Moss and Carter.

It’s just too bad they don’t get along.