During last weekend’s 34-20 season opening victory against the Browns, Vikings CB Cedric Griffin caught as many passes as Braylon Edwards, Cleveland’s top WR. Griffin, Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield and the rest of the Vikings defense held the Browns top 2 WRs to a total of 3 catches for 22 yards, including just 1 catch and 12 yards receiving for Edwards.
The impressive effort against Cleveland’s top wide outs was punctuated by Griffin’s impressive over-the-shoulder, toe-tapping interception along the sidelines in the 3rd quarter, a play Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said is a product of Griffin’s hard work over the past couple of seasons.
“That interception he made in that ball game, and even the one he made against Philadelphia (in the playoffs last year), I would say a couple years ago, Cedric Griffin would not make those types of plays,” Frazier told reporters on Thursday. “He has worked so hard on improving his ball skills and then working as hard as he has on improving his cover ability, it’s showing up in his play.”
Griffin certainly has natural ambition to improve – that’s how he’s made it to the NFL level. But he’s also improved because he plays alongside one of the top CBs in the entire league – Winfield. There are games, such as last week’s contest in Cleveland, when teams simply refuse to throw or run to Winfield’s side of the field. As a result, Griffin has gotten plenty of practice, both during the week between games and also on Sundays.
“Ced is not unaccustomed to people saying ‘Okay, we’re going to throw at #23 because of Antoine,’” Frazier said. “The good thing is he’s improving, he’s getting better.”
Frazier specifically said Griffin has improved his man-coverage skills as well as his ball skills, and that he came to training camp this summer a lot faster and quicker, and with his weight down a touch.
“But a lot of it goes back to he’s playing with a lot of confidence,” Frazier said. “To hold Braylon Edwards to one catch for twelve (yards) when you know that’s the guy they’re going to try to get the football to in the passing game, that’s quite an accomplishment. And I take my hat off to him and he’ll have tremendous challenges this weekend with Calvin Johnson, but I feel he’ll be up to the task.”
Tags: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Leslie Frazier
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