One of the themes new Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave operates under is to tailor his system to fit the players on the Vikings roster. And it looks like that theme is one the Vikings defensive coaches are going to subscribe to as well.
On Monday at practice, 2nd-year DE Everson Griffen spent a few plays standing up and playing in the spot usually occupied by an outside LB. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was quite complementary of Griffen’s athletic ability during his post-practice press conference and he made it clear the team has every intention of tapping into Griffen’s potential.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Frazier said, also noting that Griffen weighs 270 pounds and can run a 4.5-4.6 forty-yard dash. “He’s just a tremendous athlete with good football intelligence and has some playmaking ability, so we want to utilize his athletic ability.”
The back and forth Frazier had with reporters after practice was more centered on having Griffen “stand up” on defense, rather than simply moving him to outside LB. Whether the idea actually involves a position change remains to be seen. What is clear, though, is that the Vikings have a few things in mind to just get #97 on the field.
“We have some packages where we want him to stand up sometimes,” Frazier said, “and we thought that this (experimenting during practice) would give him an opportunity to get comfortable doing that [for] when we go to some of those packages during the year.
“We’re going to try to get him in there, depending on how he handles things this week that we’re throwing at him in these couple days that we got. But we’d like to take a look at him and just see how he does. But for sure, as the year goes on, we want to be able to stand him up sometimes in certain situations and let him be like a linebacker.”
Frazier was also clear that using Griffen in this manner is no indictment on the play of Erin Henderson or any of the other outside LBs currently on the roster. Rather, it’s actually based on confidence the Vikings defensive coaching staff has in another young DL on the roster.
“What it speaks to more is, some of the things we have in mind for Christian Ballard,” Frazier explained. “The fact that we think he can play inside, but also slide outside. We’ve seen some things with him that makes us believe he has some position flexibility. We’re going to try him a little bit in this game on Thursday night at (defensive) end and just see what he gives us in that area. If he can come around, it’ll help our football team.”
Who says the 4th preseason game is boring? It sounds like the Vikings defense has a lot of fun in store for the preseason finale.
Tags: Christian Ballard, Everson Griffen, Leslie Frazier
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 19 Comments »