EAGAN, Minn. – Stefon Diggs and Xavier Rhodes, both preaching “family first” but saying their competitive nature got the best of them, returned to practice Thursday after getting benched by Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday.
The two players began jawing in practice Tuesday and had exchanged heated trash talk through Wednesday’s walkthrough before Zimmer sat them down for Wednesday’s practice.
Diggs, who said there was no carryover into the locker room, said he had spoken with Rhodes and that the two have moved on.
“It’s not like we had to bury a hatchet,” Diggs said Thursday. “There was nothing there. Just two competitive guys wanted to go at it each and every day, that’s all.”
It all started Tuesday when Rhodes intercepted a pass intended for Adam Thielen, and Diggs made several big gains on passes thrown into the corner’s coverage.
Diggs then caught a 50-yard touchdown pass during team drills and threw the ball into the stands. Rhodes stayed on the field for several reps and remained in at cornerback with the third-team defense.
After the heated chatter carried over into Wednesday’s walk-through, Zimmer let both players know they would not be practicing that afternoon.
“We compete each and every day, but foremost we’re family first,” Rhodes said Thursday. “It’s a brotherhood, and sometimes you’re just going to go through it. We came together as a team, we knew what we did wrong and we’re accountable for it. And they’re holding us accountable for it because we’re leaders of our team.”
Added Diggs: “If anybody who has siblings … you know, if you ever got into with your sibling over the last cookie, it’s always fun afterwards. For me, going out today, I’m excited to be practicing. I’m pretty sure he is. We’re just excited to be back to work.”
Zimmer’s decision to nip the incident before it intensified is something Rhodes said he appreciates about the way his head coaches manages his players.
“With Coach Zim, you don’t know what’s coming,” Rhodes said. “He handles everything in an appropriate manner because he doesn’t want anyone to feel like they’re above anything — above the team, above the logo. That was his thing.
“By doing that, it lets us know we’re a family. We need to make up, give ourselves some time and come back together as a family and make up.”
Diggs offered an apology to fans who had been waiting for him during the previous day’s autograph session.
“I’m going to make it a priority and my business: If anybody didn’t get an autograph, I’m going to make sure they get one,” Diggs said.
After 11 full team practices, the Vikings will travel to Denver for their first preseason game on Saturday.