Stefon Diggs is having a bad year.
We'd say "just ask him," but Diggs hasn't spoken to the press in two weeks, leaving the criticism of the Vikings' offense to his wide receiver counterpart Adam Thielen. Thielen obliged after Sunday's 16-6 loss to the Chicago Bears, saying, "you have to be able to throw the ball."
And by "you" he means Kirk Cousins, Minnesota's quarterback and monthly rock removal enthusiast. Cousins apologized to Thielen specifically last night, saying he'd missed "too many opportunities where I could have hit [Thielen] on Sunday."
No such apology was forthcoming for Diggs. The lack of production for both receivers relative to last year is the subject of an ESPN analysis, which notes the obvious: Cousins is throwing a lot less, period. So far, Diggs has been thrown at 19 times; that's two-thirds the number of catches he had through four games last season.
One neat but infuriating little animation of a play against the Bears shows Diggs' little circle guy running a wide-open route during the Bears loss, pulling toward the sideline with no one near him... only for Cousins' little circle guy to dump the ball to fullback C.J. Ham's little circle guy for a one-yard gain.
Look, if Diggs posted that during a productive year on a winning team, everyone would assume the best. As it is, his Instagram followers are taking it as a threat he might ask for a trade.
"You better not leave," writes one.
And another: "We need you Diggs. Been a fan 28 years. Hang in there with weak ass Kirk. SKOL."
Also ready to be read into: an Instagram story that had Diggs saying Thielen would be his "brother no matter what," leaving followers to wonder if there's some sort of "what" in the works.
Apparently Stefon Diggs has been following Patriots players on Instagram. He also posted this to his story.— Ryan Heckman (@RyanHeckmanFS) October 1, 2019
Maybe they're overreacting. Again, a single statement asserting control over one's destiny is fairly generic for a professional athlete.
But what the hell does this Monday night tweet mean?
��— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) September 30, 2019
Per the "emojipedia" page, this here is "Face Without Mouth," and can be understood as such:
A yellow face with simple, open eyes and no mouth, as if at a loss for words. Meaning widely varies, but commonly conveys speechlessness, humility, and silence. May also convey moderately negative emotions, such as disappointment, frustration, or sadness.
Maybe Diggs was "speechless" because he'd just eaten a really delicious salad, or feeling "humility" because he lost to someone at backgammon. Almost all other interpretations of this mouthless face are bad.
Unless you happen to root for another NFL team. At least three teams' fanbases—-all of them pretty insufferable, to be honest—are seizing on Diggs' obvious unhappiness as evidence he wants out of Minnesota.
Boston-area TV station NESN says New England Patriots fans are "going absolutely nuts" over the idea of landing Diggs.
Noting that Diggs going to the New York Giants would be a reunion with former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, this Giants blog calls Diggs trade rumors "the biggest news of the week" leading up to Minnesota's game against the Giants.
An Oakland Raiders blog post about Diggs rumors uses the word "if" so much we're worried about the 'i' and the 'f' keys.
Do "trade rumors" about Stefon Diggs exist anywhere outside these homer blogs? Could the Vikings realistically part with the guy who scored the team's most iconic touchdown in years, if not ever?
What would it be like to live without a mouth? Bad, probably. But could it really be worse than being a Vikings fan in the age of social media?