A day after they were barred from practice Wednesday afternoon for their spat that began Tuesday and continued into the following morning’s walk-through, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and cornerback Xavier Rhodes returned to the practice field Thursday afternoon, saying the feud was behind them and chalking it up to a byproduct of good-natured competition.
Diggs, who said he watched practice from somewhere on the Vikings’ campus, apologized to fans who didn’t get his autograph during his designated day to sign at training camp, saying he’d make sure to sign for any fan who didn’t get his autograph because of his absence.
The two clashed several times Tuesday, particularly after Diggs caught a long touchdown pass over Rhodes and threw the ball into the stands. Diggs called the feud — which included a couple heated exchanges with Rhodes on Tuesday and a shouting match with safety Andrew Sendejo, among others, Wednesday — a squabble among family.
“Brothers argue. Brothers fight,” Diggs said. “We go at it, but at the end of the day, we still love each other.”
Diggs said he’d smoothed things over with Rhodes after “a couple talks” with coach Mike Zimmer, adding none of the on-field aggression carried over into the locker room. Still, both said Zimmer’s decision to keep them out of practice delivered a strong message.
“Coach Zim is a team guy, and he believes in things done a certain kind of way,” Diggs said.
“So was I surprised? No. Was I hurt? Of course. He knew how to hit you where it hurt. I’m big on being accountable for everything I do. As far as insight, I don’t have too much, but I can say I look forward to practicing.”
Told the two players were characterizing the feud as a fight between siblings, Zimmer said, “Juvenile is maybe better.”
The coach’s decision to let things blow over, Rhodes said, was a good one.
“By doing that, it lets us know we’re a family,” he said. “We need to make up, give ourselves some time and come back together as a family.”
Barr, Remmers remain out
Linebacker Anthony Barr missed his second straight practice Thursday, watching from the sideline as the Vikings worked out. Guard Mike Remmers remained out because of an ankle injury, in the team’s final practice before Saturday’s preseason opener.
Wide receiver Brandon Zylstra, who left early Wednesday after a collision during a red-zone drill, did not practice Thursday. Guard Colby Gossett also missed a second straight practice.
Late practice before night game
The Vikings moved their walk-through and practice two hours later Thursday, to get ready for their Saturday night game in Denver.
The Vikings and Broncos will kick off at 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on Ch. 9.