Stefon Diggs on seeing Case Keenum: ‘That’s not my girlfriend or nothin, but when I see him, it's all love'’

Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates as he walks off the field after the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 29-24 to win the NFC divisional round playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 14, 2018 in Minneapolis, Min ((Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images))

Case Keenum was the arm behind one of the most historic plays in the short history of U.S. Bank Stadium. Adrian Peterson will go down as one of the best running backs in Minnesota Vikings history.

There will likely be some hugs and handshakes Thursday night as both make their return to Minneapolis. The Vikings (5-2) host the Redskins (1-6), who are coming off a shutout 9-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week.

Several Vikings players have said in the short turn-around since Sunday’s win at Detroit that they’re looking forward to seeing Keenum and Peterson again. They hope it’s after sending the Redskins home with a loss.

Stefon Diggs has a memory with Keenum that he’ll take with him the rest of his life. He was on the receiving end of Keenum’s “Minneapolis Miracle,” the walk-off touchdown pass to beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Playoffs and send the Vikings to the NFC title game, the same year the Super Bowl was at U.S. Bank Stadium.

There is at least one portrait of the play at TCO Performance Center in Eagan. Though times have changed, Diggs is looking forward to seeing his ex-teammate Thursday.

“That’s not my girlfriend or nothing. But when I see him, it’s all love though. I guess that was a moment we all shared, especially me and him. He gave me the opportunity for it and I’m thankful. But that’s my guy still. It’s all love, but no hugging and all that type of stuff,” Diggs said.

Keenum was the quintessential back-up quarterback for the Vikings in 2017. Always ready, and his number was called when Sam Bradford went down with a knee injury. He tried to come back against the Chicago Bears, but Keenum replaced him in the second half in that 2017 road game and led the Vikings to a 20-17 victory.

Keenum led Minnesota to a 13-3 record and the NFC North Division title. You know the rest.

“Case is a good kid, he’s a tough competitor,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

Kyle Rudolph caught seven of his eight touchdowns that season from Keenum. He’s looking forward to seeing an old friend, but prefers to not see any more heroics. The historic throw to Diggs is enough.

“I hope he doesn’t have any miracles on Thursday, that’s for sure. Love Case, appreciate everything he did, I hope that Minneapolis Miracle was his last miracle in U.S. Bank Stadium,” Rudolph said.

Keenum got off to a hot start with the Redskins this season throwing for 933 yards and seven touchdowns in his first three games. But he also got benched in a 24-3 loss to the Giants. He was just 9-of-12 passing for 77 yards in sloppy conditions in a 9-0 loss to the 49ers last week.

Not to be forgotten is Peterson, who spent 10 seasons in Minnesota after being drafted in 2007. He ran for more than 1,760 yards in his second season, ran for more than 2,000 yards in 2012 after a major knee injury and went for nearly 1,500 yards in his penultimate season with the Vikings.

Peterson has 108 career touchdowns, and 102 of them are with the Vikings.

“He wasn’t a guy that was too big for anybody, which I think is really cool because he’s one of the best players to ever play the game. It’ll be good to see him as it always is,” said Vikings receiver Adam Thielen, who will miss Thursday's game with a hamstring injury.

Peterson’s numbers have taken a considerable drop since he left Minnesota. Despite battling several injuries, he’s got 307 yards and one touchdown this season. He had his first 100-yard rushing game two weeks ago against the Dolphins.

Peterson is 34, and still trying to play running back in the NFL at a high level. He’s the same guy who tore his ACL, then nearly set the single-season rushing record the next season. He’s currently battling ankle injuries, but said he expects to play Thursday night.

“One thing I learned in my time around Adrian is never to bet against him and never to count him out. I think back to when he tore his ACL and everyone was wondering if he’d bounce back and be the same player. Less than four months later, he was running half-gassers faster than all of our receivers and running backs,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “Adrian is just one of those freak of nature, special athletes, but also works harder than anyone I know.”

Keenum and Peterson had two vastly different experiences with the Vikings, but both will see plenty of familiar faces when they return to U.S. Bank Stadium.

“I expect Adrian to get a really warm welcome back here in Minnesota. He’s done so many great things for this organization and for this community,” Rudolph said.