Making too much of history can be, at times, as dangerous as failing to heed its warnings.
That is to say: Presuming that something will happen again just because it has happened before is fraught with peril — just as is is believing that something that has never happened before will continue to stay dormant.
Framed within the context of what Vikings GM Rick Spielman had to say about wide receiver Stefon Diggs at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday, this provides some warning not to be to carried away about the past informing the future.
Yet still: Spielman’s money quote, whereby he told reporters that “there’s no reason to anticipate [Diggs] is not going to be a Minnesota Viking,” is complicated by an immediate rebuttal.
Actually, there are many reasons to anticipate a possible trade involving Diggs. And one of them involves a chain of events that contained a very similar Spielman quote seven years ago and culminated in the trade of disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin.
It was mid-February 2013 when Spielman said, “We have no intent of trading Percy Harvin.” Less than a month later, on the eve of the new NFL league year beginning, news broke that Spielman had in fact traded Harvin.
It was all speculation up until that point — just as Spielman tried to paint the Diggs situation on Tuesday.
“No disrespect to your profession, but there are a lot of things that get reported that get sensationalized that maybe shouldn’t be,” he told reporters in Indianapolis. “Regardless, we’re going to handle anything we have internally.”
No two situations are completely alike. It’s quite possible Harvin’s level of frustration was as tsunami compared to the brief but noticeable rocking of the boat that cost Diggs $200,000 last year.
But the fact that Spielman has already traded a star wide receiver, coming off a 10-6 playoff season (as the Vikings were after 2012 and are again now) and is using a very similar playbook of denial now as he did then … well that’s the first of many reasons a trade is possible.
The others are more practical and less fun. There’s the aforementioned six-figure fine, which came — per the words and reporting of our Ben Goessling — for “skipping two days of meetings and practices following the team’s Week 4 loss to the Chicago Bears. His absence, sources told the Star Tribune at the time, stemmed from frustrations that had been building since the spring over the direction of the offense and his role in it.”
The frustration of a star player, like it or not, is always a reason a trade might happen.
And that role in the offense doesn’t figure to change much this season, with the Vikings again committed to the run game and Diggs likely returning to a co-starring role alongside a presumably healthy Adam Thielen. Does a cap-strapped team built that way on offense really need two high-priced, albeit very good receivers?
Maybe. Maybe not.
It’s certainly possible Diggs stays, for reasons Spielman also laid out Tuesday: “Stefon, last year, had probably his most productive year, and he’s a young receiver we just extended. He’s not only a major part of our offense and a major part of our organization winning games, but he also does a lot of things for this organization off the field.”
The issue here is mainly Spielman’s attempt to make this a non-issue. No disrespect to his profession. That’s his job, I suppose — just like it’s ours to point out that history and context suggest otherwise.