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Stefon Diggs stealing the show for Vikings' air attack

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It's not how the Vikings planned it.

We heard all offseason how Minnesota would puncture defenses through the air with young Teddy Bridgewater lacing passes to veteran wideout Mike Wallace and the emergent Charles Johnson.

Seven games into the season, though, it's fifth-round rookie Stefon Diggs who leads the team in yardage (419), receptions per game (6.3) and yards per catch (16.8).

Diggs ripped through the Bears for another 95 yards off six grabs in Sunday's 23-20 win over Chicago. After Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio held the rookie to just four yards over the first two quarters, Diggs lashed the defense for gains of 12, 15 and 20 yards before beating the Bears on an underneath option route that turned into a 40-yard, game-winning touchdown. Check out the footwork:

Diggs wasn't on the radar at season's start and didn't even catch a pass until Week 4. Accounting for 87, 129 and 108 yards in his first three games prior to Sunday, Diggs sits on pace for 100 catches and 1,676 yards over a 16-game span.

His emergence is a huge boost for Bridgewater, who targeted the pass-catcher on 48 percent of his targets against Chicago and clearly trusts their growing chemistry.

Ranking second among all rookies in receiving yards, Diggs was the 146th player taken in the draft and the 19th wideout selected. He was passed over by receiver-needy clubs in favor of Justin Hardy, Vince Mayle and DeAndre Smelter.

His yardage over four games also ranks Diggs second among all NFL players in their first four career games since 1960, landing him behind only Anquan Boldin's fast start from 2003. Despite missing three games, Diggs also sits on pace to shatter Randy Moss' rookie franchise marks for catches and yards through the air.

It's the second year in a row that we've witnessed a monster pass-catcher emerge from the shadows after serving as a non-factor for nearly a month. Like Odell Beckham before him, Diggs has brought new life to his team, boosting a Norv Turner-led scheme that makes the most of its wideouts.

Every game, all season

"I'm excited about him. The Vikings have kind of been waiting for one of these young receivers to emerge," said Hall of Fame wideout and former Vikings star Cris Carter, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "... Before you start saying, 'This is the guy' and everything, I would like to see him develop. but I'm very, very happy for him and I know he's going to get a great opportunity."

Another former Vikings pass-catcher, Anthony Carter, said: "I'm thinking he's going to be an outstanding receiver. If the Vikings can keep him and Teddy Bridgewater for like eight or nine or 10 years, the sky is the limit for them. ... I think the Vikings know now they've got a diamond in the rough."

Clocking in at 6-foot and 191-pounds, Diggs is a smaller receiver who runs a 4.46 40-yard dash and offers pro-ready route-running gifts. Anthony Carter, who played at 5-foot-11 and 168 pounds, said of the rookie: "He kind of reminds me of me. He's a small receiver, he has good speed and good hands and once he learns the pro game, the sky is the limit."

Every season offers fans a satchel of surprise performers who defy their background, their draft pedigree and their presumed place in the pecking order. In Minnesota, Diggs is teaching us once again that new stars shine from all corners of the football universe.

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