Stefon Diggs Jersey

EAGAN, Minn. — Stefon Diggs is recovering this week from an injury he sustained to his ribs against the New Orleans Saints.

The Vikings wide receiver did not participate in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, although he was able to toss the football to his position group during individual drills earlier today.

Diggs believes he was injured on a 19-yard screen pass that he caught in the second quarter of Minnesota’s 30-20 loss last Sunday. The receiver said he does not think he took a hit to the ribs on the play in question but rather sustained a bruise upon hitting the ground.

“I think so. I’m not 100 percent sure, but that’s probably when it happened,” Diggs said. “I think I just hit the ground a little bit too hard that one time.”

Diggs was seen chatting with Vikings trainers on the sideline after the reception, which occurred on the first play in the second quarter, but went back in the game one play later. The fifth-year receiver caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans and was able to play 64 of a total 73 offensive snaps. Notably, Diggs was not on the field for the Vikings’ failed conversion on fourth-and-1 from their own 45-yard line in the third quarter.\

Friday’s injury report will provide more clarity as to whether Diggs will have a shot at facing the Lions on Sunday. The likelihood of that increases if he’s able to practice in some capacity tomorrow.

“Yeah,” Diggs said when he asked if he anticipates playing in Week 9. “Always, as I should.”

The Vikings may also see the return of running back Dalvin Cook against Detroit. Cook has been battling through a hamstring injury he sustained in overtime at Green Bay in Week 2, which has limited him to 36 carries for 98 yards in 10 quarters of play.

Sources indicated to ESPN last week the belief that Cook would remain sidelined through the bye week after missing the Saints game, but his return to practice this week in limited capacity may indicate the second-year back is further along with his rehabilitation.

Cook did not practice during the week leading into the game against New Orleans. Eliminating football activity, he says, was beneficial to his recovery process.

“Very, very important,” Cook said. “I think with these things, if you’re kind of stepping on it and keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep lingering it on. You kind of need to shut the body down. That’s why I’m so confident in our medical staff because they’ve got the right plan set up for me. We’ve been going by what they (have) for me daily and my body’s been reacting to it good. It was very important.”

Cook said he’s in a “comfortable spot” after practicing all week and is likely to be listed as questionable if he practices again on Friday. The running back said he doesn’t know if there are any lingering effects from his hamstring injury given he hasn’t taken snaps in a game since the Vikings played the Rams in Week 4. He’ll know how he truly feels and what percentage he can assign to his hamstring’s being fully healed when he gets in a game.

“That’s the big key,” Cook said. “You can practice. You can run around. You can run straight. You can do all that. But it’s about going out there and the person chasing you and you turning your body and you twisting your body and having the twitch to do it, that’s when hamstrings occur. That’s how it occurred during the Green Bay game. My body got torqued around, and that’s what happened.”

Latavius Murray has shouldered the load in Cook’s absence and rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Saints’ No. 1 run defense last week. The last time the Vikings played the Lions, Murray ran 20 times for 84 yards and a touchdown.

Gronkowski called Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Sunday to inform him of his decision to retire, a team source said.

“In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day,” Kraft said in a statement later Sunday. “He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around. As a player, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work, preparation, selfless attitude and the sheer dominance of his game. ‘Gronk’ quickly became a fan favorite and the most dominant player at his position for nearly a decade. I look forward to honoring him in the near future as both a Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer. “

Coach Bill Belichick said it was his “pleasure and a privilege to coach” Gronkowski in their nine years together, and credited him as a major reason the Patriots won championships.

“Rob’s impact on our team and organization was felt in many ways,” Belichick said in his statement. “In the ultimate team sport, Rob was a great, great teammate. His production spoke for itself, but his daily attitude, unmistakably positive energy wherever he went and toward whoever he touched will never be forgotten. Rob will leave an indelible mark on the Patriots organization and the game as among the best, most complete players at his position to ever play.”

In the days leading up to the Patriots’ victory against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, Gronkowski discussed the physical toll football had taken on him.

“The season is a grind. It’s up and down. I’m not going to lie and sit here and say every week is the best. Not at all. You go up. You go down. You can take some serious hits,” he said. “Try to imagine getting hit all the time and trying to be where you want to be every day in life. It’s tough. It’s difficult. To take hits to the thigh, to take hits to your head, abusing your body, isn’t what your brain wants. When your body is abused, it can bring down your mood. You have to be able to deal with that, too, throughout the season. You have to be able to deal with that going into games.”

The 6-foot-6, 268-pound Gronkowski has a lengthy injury history but has taken pride in bouncing back from various ailments, which have included surgeries on his back, forearm and knee.

Gronkowski, who turns 30 on May 14, was reflective at times leading into Super Bowl LIII.

“I’m really satisfied with how my whole career has been. Super satisfied. There’s ups and downs, but the thing is always coming back,” he said. “There’s so many examples of great players here before me, when I was young, to look up to and see how they bounce back when something adverse comes their way.”

Gronkowski’s upbeat personality was infectious among his teammates, something that in some ways began the day the Patriots selected him with the 42nd overall pick out of Arizona.

At the same time, Brady highlighted a different side of Gronkowski, as he has long been one of the most philanthropic players on the team. In 2016, Gronkowski was the team’s recipient of the Ron Burton Community Service Award.

“For as big and physical as he is, he is a gentle, kind man,” Brady said.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch consider the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns among the toughest moves they have ever made. Mara even insisted that he gave a “reluctant approval” after thinking about it on a long ride home from work.

The Giants traded Beckham, who they have said on multiple occasions is a transcendent talent, for a first-round pick, third-round pick and safety Jabrill Peppers. The move came seven months after Beckham received a five-year deal worth up to $98.5 million. It resulted in the team paying $21.5 million for 12 games in 2018 and a $16 million dead-money cap hit this year.

Mara and Tisch conceded that those numbers made it even more difficult to pull the trigger.

“I will tell you it was a reluctant approval on my part because I happen to like Odell [Beckham Jr.] very much, and I recognize the unique talent that he has,” Mara said. “It’s not easy to trade that player to another team.”

Giants ownership talked about the sometimes unnecessary drama that came with the star wide receiver. But they considered the extra issues that came with Beckham “manageable,” and both thought they had a good relationship with him. It was all factored into the equation when making the blockbuster move.

Still, Mara insisted that it was “not an easy decision” on a trade that was driven by general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur.

Tisch added: “Not an easy decision at all.”

Mara mentioned that the toughest call he had to make was to two of his grandsons, as he had to explain that he was trading their favorite player. They sobbed uncontrollably, and Mara half-joked that only one of them is speaking to him several weeks later.

They now will have to watch Beckham, who has four 1,000-yard receiving seasons in five years, star for another franchise.

“It’s not going to be easy. I won’t lie to you: It’s not going to be easy,” Mara said. “I mean, he is a great player, and I hope he has a great career with the Browns. It makes it a little easier that he’s not in our conference.”

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