User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Griffen giving Vikings another solid pass rusher

New Sportsbook.com customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

   

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings weren't sure if they could count on Everson Griffen after two spotty seasons, despite the potential he flashed as a pass rusher.

Advertisement
After two games as a nearly-every-down defensive end, Griffen's progress has been clarified. With personal growth through a tragic experience, some technique improvement and a recent chance for more playing time, Griffen has proven his worth and helped strengthen the Minnesota defense at a critical time.

``You've got to take full advantage of the opportunity, and that's all I did,'' Griffen said after practice Friday. ``Just showing them that they can trust in me and that I'm accountable. When your number is called, you have to be ready to play and go in there and perform.''

Brian Robison sprained his right shoulder early in the Dec. 16 victory at St. Louis, so Griffen was promoted from his nickel-package role to the base defense. He returned an interception for a touchdown, showing remarkable athleticism to catch the ball cleanly and maneuver toward the end zone, and had three quarterback hurries. In the win on Sunday at Houston, Griffen had a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss.

``One day I will be a starter in the NFL and once that happens I will take full advantage. I'm happy for my progress and just to help this team,'' Griffen said. ``Whatever I can do - inside, outside, whatever - I'm here for the cause and I'm down with the Minnesota Vikings.''

Griffen fell to the fourth round in the 2010 draft, coming out of USC after his junior year. He was hampered by a turf-toe injury and inconsistent performance, but Vikings director of college scouting Scott Studwell also described Griffen at the time as a guy who ``enjoyed the college life a little bit.'' With Jared Allen, Ray Edwards and Brian Robison ahead of him, Griffen played sparingly on defense and mostly on special teams coverage as a rookie.

That winter, he was arrested for an alleged assault on a police officer in Los Angeles during a scuffle that ensued from a traffic stop, though a felony charge was not pursued by authorities.

In 2011, Griffen's playing time increased. He had four sacks, four tackles for loss and eight quarterback hurries, becoming the primary backup to Allen and Robison after the departure of Edwards. But he was still prone to untimely penalties, and his main value remained on special teams.

With Allen and Robison entrenched in their starting spots, the Vikings experimented in training camp with Griffen at linebacker, but that ended quickly when both parties determined there wasn't a fit. With assistance from new defensive line coach Brendan Daly, Griffen adjusted his hand placement to improve his pass-rush moves. He devoted himself to more film study. And, after the sudden death of his mother in October, Griffen took another step forward in his maturation.

``He's come so far,'' coach Leslie Frazier said. ``Being able to manage his free time, understanding what it means to be a pro and act like a pro, both at practice and in games as well, and off the field. He's one of those guys, as we speak, that has really bought in to the right way of doing things.''

Griffen has the quickness to excel at his position. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams, looking at video of the players he inherited soon after he was hired before this season, recalled watching Griffen in action for the first time.

``There was a blur going across the screen and I was thinking, `Is that a linebacker? Is that a safety running across the field?''' Williams said. ``And I went back and forth a couple of times and I got my program out and looked at it, and it was Everson Griffen. I looked at his height and weight and I was thinking, `Wow, we have something here.'''

Griffen has moved to defensive tackle in the nickel scheme when opponents are likely to pass, with Letroy Guion coming out. He also gives Allen and Robison breaks from time to time at end. With Robison questionable to play this Sunday against Green Bay, Griffen is certain to see significant time on the field again. His greatest value is being able to drop back in coverage on zone-blitz calls or get to the quarterback on a rush just as quickly.

``I knew they could count on me from the very beginning, but I proved to them that they really can now,'' Griffen said. ``It's a good feeling. I just want to go out there and keep on improving and helping this team win. That's all I want to do.''

NOTES: CB Antoine Winfield was listed as questionable with knee and hand soreness. RB Adrian Peterson, who has been bothered by an abdominal injury, was listed as probable. ... Frazier said Robison has improved but wants to gauge Robison's assessment of his condition before clearing him to play. ... Winfield will wear a wrap with protective padding on his hand. He didn't practice all week, but part of that is his veteran privilege. ``Just being cautious today, but I think he'll be ready,'' Frazier said.

---

Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Marshall: NFL Draft Analysis
News: Johnny Football Props
News: CG posts 2014 Win Totals
Kelly, Trump, Bon Jovi pursuing Bills
Wayne hopes to prove doubters wrong
Saints bring back WR Meachem
WR Rice agrees to terms with 'Hawks
Vikings sign safety Kurt Coleman
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 1340
Chip Chirimbes + 1286
The Gold Sheet + 1262
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 200
Pat Hawkins + 120
Chip Chirimbes + 100
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
The SportsBoss 59 %
The Gold Sheet 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 805
The Gold Sheet + 713
Scott Pritchard + 615
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 400
Joe Williams + 324
Tony Stoffo + 203
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
ASA + 670
The SportsBoss + 385
Brian Edwards + 337
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!