When Vikings coaches reviewed the 2011 defensive tape, they saw a lot of ugliness. But there were enough bright spots — in limited snaps — from Everson Griffen that gave them an encouraging feeling. Griffen was stuck as the third defensive end behind Jared Allen, who almost never comes off the field, and Brian Robison, who stayed healthy in his first full season as a starter. But Griffen also stood up occasionally as a 270-pound linebacker in a few defensive sub-packages, and it got the Vikings' coaches to thinking that he might be able to do more of it. After slimming down and reporting to camp at 258 pounds, Griffen now has a chance to play more as a linebacker, although WLB Erin Henderson is ahead of him on the depth chart and entrenched for now as the starter. Even if Griffen doesn’t start, though, the 24-year-old figures to be on the field a lot more often this season if he stays at a good weight and continues to grow and mature.
- Everson Griffen