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Ballard, Griffen Will Have Opportunity To Contribute On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 8, 2011 – 1:31 pm

On Sunday the Vikings will face a Lions offense that leans heavily on the pass. No team passes on a higher percentage of their offensive snaps (64.9%) than the Lions and only the New Orleans Saints have attempted more passes on the season. The Lions pass-to-run ratio currently sits at 490-278, which includes games with 63 and 50 pass attempts.

The Lions are coming off back-to-back games of 45 and 44 pass attempts, and now they may be even more inclined to attack through the air with starter Jahvid Best out and his replacement, Kevin Smith, also battling injury.

Suffice it to say, Vikings pass rushers – especially the defensive ends – will have a lot of work to do this Sunday. Jared Allen has been productive for the Vikings this season – his 14.5 sacks rank 2nd in the NFL – but not even he can put enough pressure on Lions QB Matthew Stafford alone. Allen’s usual partner on the other end of the defensive line is Brian Robison, but Robison is trying to comeback from a concussion he sustained in last week’s game against the Broncos.

With or without Robison, the Vikings will rely on depth along the defensive line to keep fresh bodies in the game and a relentless pass rush in Stafford’s face. After Allen and Robison, the next two outside pass rushers the Vikings will insert into the game are rookie Christian Ballard and 2nd-year DE Everson Griffen.

Vikings Defensive Coordinator Fred Pagac was asked about his depth along the defensive line during his customary Thursday morning meeting with reporters.

“We’re planning on playing him,” Pagac said of Griffen. “He’s been getting more reps as the season’s gone on. We plan on using him quite a bit. The other guy will be Christian Ballard. Those guys are going to have to play. We’re going to have to rotate people through, we’re going to have to get fresh bodies in there rushing the passer, and play sixty minutes of football. Give them different looks, play aggressively and have some fun.”

Both Ballard and Griffen are 4th-round draft picks of the Vikings, and both figure to be in the team’s long-term plans along the defensive line after impressing coaches and scouts early in their careers. For both players, versatility is a strong-point in their skill sets. They can both contribute on multiple phases of special teams, and they can both play multiple positions on defense. Griffen is most comfortable playing DE, but the Vikings have also experimented with him as a LB. Ballard was a standout at the University of Iowa at both DE and DT, and he’s been productive in short stints for the Vikings at both positions as well.

With the Vikings season coming up short of expectations, now is a great opportunity for these two young players to gain additional playing time and prove even more to coaches that they’re deserving of playing time. Add in the fact that the Vikings defense will face a pass-happy Lions attack this weekend, and the opportunity for Ballard and Griffen gets even better.

Here’s what Pagac had to say about both Ballard and Griffen when he was asked to evaluate them:

On Ballard: “I think that kid is multi-talented. He can play different positions. I don’t think he’ll have a problem there. In fact, the snaps that he has gotten at that end position, he’s been pretty stout and he’s gotten us pretty good push on the pocket. He’s a young player who’s going to be a good football player.”

On Griffen: “Everson has great potential. In my opinion, he’s had pretty good productivity on the plays that he’s played and he’s got to continue to mature and grasp some scheme and go from there. He has great athleticism. He has a good motor. He can make athletic plays.”


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49 Responses to “Ballard, Griffen Will Have Opportunity To Contribute On Sunday”

  1. By TheRealDon on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Did anybody notice that we are started to pick up the players that are in the Tag Cloud

  2. By CaribooBill on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    It’s not on topic, but I want to compliment the Vikings on their two successful challenges in the Denver game, after missing one against Atlanta. When they fix something, they deserve praise. Keep it up !

  3. By vikes#1 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    The white earth tribe came up with a great soloution to solve the stadium issue. It would creat jobs, and elimintae any tax dollars for building the stadium. With hasnt this been pushed through already, a no brainer to me. Every one should be trying to push there reps on this.

  4. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @vikes#1,

    The White Earth Tribes ideas are good. But when it comes to something big where money is involved, the BIG EGOs will battle it out. They don’t care about good ideas. In general it is THEIR IDEAS that count.

  5. By VegasVike on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    I can imagine the conservative folks of Minnesota will have issues with combining gaming with professional sports. Frederick you are correct, even a no brainer nowadays is a battle.

  6. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Speaking of BIG EGOs, MONEY, and IDEAs, that is where we are at with the Vikings Draft, trades, and free agency.

    According to the Vikings Media Guide:

    In 1998 we had a Senior Vice President over two Vice Presidents in the Executive Staff, and some secretaries. That’s it.

    In 2007 we had SIX VICE PRESIDENTS in the Executive Staff, and many secretaries.

    In 2011 we have THE SAME SIX VICE PRESIDENTS in the Executive Staff, and many secretaries.

    There is nothing wrong with that, AS LONG AS YOU KEEP WINNING!

    NOW we have changed the coaching since 2007. :( :( A LOT BABY!!!
    We have changed the players A LOT since 2007.

    IT IS PAST TIME TO GET THIS GROUP ORGANIZED, AND MAKE SOME
    CHANGES!!! LIKE, HOLY COW, AND NO KIDDING???

    NO ONE PERSON COULD BE THAT DUMB!!! :( :( :(

    THERE HAS TO BE SOME INTERNAL WARFARE GOING ON!!!

    :( :( HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER OR GIVE THE POWER TO THE HEAD COACH :( :( :( :(

  7. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @Vegas Vike,

    To me, it is very clear what is wrong with the Vikings. We do not have a leader.

    We do not have a football guy who can say, “This is what we need, let’s go out and get it!”

  8. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    If you are going to hire a coach, have enough confidence in him to place him in charge of personnel.

  9. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER WHO UNDERSTANDS THE GAME OF FOOTBALL FROM A PLAYERS VIEWPOINT!!!

  10. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER!!!

    DENNIS GREEN

    BRIAN BILLICK

    ALAN PAGE

  11. By Viking33 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Childress gave them the excuse they needed to take power away from the coach with the release of Moss. It is just like government, overreaction to loud singular events invoke reactionary decisions that in the long run do more harm than good. But you are right it means No One is in charge, and you have a bunch of VP’s jockeying for favoritism from the owner to be the Dog that gets an extra bone.

  12. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @Viking33,

    It’s difficult to know for sure which coaches had the power of personnel choice.

    Certainly Dennis Green and Bud Grant did have power there, and they are the most successful coaches in Vikings history.

    There must have been people interferring with Childress on both ends of that Moss deal.

    Coaches must believe in their players. Childress didn’t hide his disdain of Randy Moss, so I suspect that he never wanted him on the team. He should have had that right!

  13. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER!!!

  14. By Twoodsnvikes on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Right now the 2012 draft order will be Colts, Rams, Vikes. The Rams have one more winnable game, but it will most likely end in this order. The Rams will either take Kalil or trade down to someone who is looking for a QB. I think it’s likely the Vikes will trade down as well. The following teams will definitely be looking for a QB in the first round in my mind: Dolphins, Seahawks, Redskins and the following teams I think are probable to be looking for a QB in the first round early: Broncos, Browns, Jaguars, Cardinals. With RG3 winning the heisman this Saturday and Matt Barkely being ranked very high, I think any of these teams would do a semi-desparate trade for either of these Qbs in our spot and we could pick up some great value and still a top 15 pick in the first round. So if we traded number three pick for anywhere between the number 12 and 15 pick, trade value would dictate an additional 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round. (Look at what Falcons gave up last year to get Julio Jones). Players that could still be available here that we would still be interested in are probably Alshon Jeffery (WR), Michael Flloyd (WR), and Jonathan Martin (OT). Let assume a WR since there are two:
    1st Round: Alshon Jeffery/Michael Flloyd (WR)
    2nd round: Chase Minnfield (CB)
    2nd round: Mark Barron (SS)
    3rd round: Levy Adco ck (OT)
    3rd round: Shaun Prater (CB)
    4th round: Keenan Robinson (OLB)
    4th round: Matt McCants (OT)
    4th round (compensatory): Amini Silatolu (OG)
    Lets say Martin is still available for us, I’d keep a few of the same players:
    1st round: Jonathan Martin (OT)
    2nd round: Chase Minnfield (CB)
    2nd round: Mark Barron (SS)
    3rd round: Lucas Nix (OG)
    3rd round: Shaun Prater (CB)
    4th round: Keenan Robinson (OLB)
    4th round: Marvin McNutt (WR)
    4th round (compensatory): George Iloka (FS)
    *Notes: Many of you I’m sure want Kalil, but I think the Rams will either take Kalil ahead of us or trade down to get additional picks much like us since they are not going to go for a QB. So Kalil could be gone. In addition, with the Vikes having SO many need areas, the prospect of picking up additional early round picks might be too attractive to pick up, as simulated in this mock.
    Some might question the OLB pick, but the truth is our LBs had some major troubles in the pass this year. Robinson has shown good pass coverage ability and he plays a bit nasty and getting some aggressive players on defense is definitely something we need.
    In addition, I think the following players need to be targeted/heavily considered by the Vikes in addition to the draft:
    DBS: Finnegan, Branch, Porter, Landry
    WR: V. Jackson, Bowe

  15. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    MIKE WOBSCHALL,

    WHAT IS WITH THE “NO COMMENTS” SECTIONS???

    IF WE CAN’T COMMENT ON WHAT IS IN A BLOG, DON’T PRINT IT!!!

    lol x 7

  16. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @TwoodsVike,

    Keep those blogs for DBs and OTs coming.

    It looks as if you put some time in to the last one.

    Thank you,

    P.S.

    HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER WHO KNOWS FOOTBALL FOR TWOODSVIKE’S SAKE!!!

  17. By VegasVike on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Good to see you are back on your soapbox Frederick, I thought you were slipping there for a while!

  18. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @MIKE WOBSCHALL,

    WHAT IS WITH THE “NO COMMENTS” SECTIONS???

    IF WE CAN’T COMMENT ON WHAT IS IN A BLOG, DON’T PRINT IT!!!

    lol x 7

  19. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    DEAR MIKE WOBSCHALL,

    WHAT IS WITH THE “NO COMMENTS” SECTIONS???

    IF WE CAN’T COMMENT ON WHAT IS IN A BLOG, DON’T PRINT IT!!!

    lol x 7

  20. By Parody on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Twoods – Actually, with the Bears and Lions losing last week, we just stepped in front of the Rams in the draft order. So if the draft were held today, we’d get the #2 pick, although I have a gut feeling that we’re likely to win one or two games yet, and I’m not as certain that the Rams can pull off another win.

    There’s a chance this week with the Rams going against Tarvaris Jackson, but the rest of their schedule looks really difficult. The only other chance they have is in the final game against San Francisco. It’s very likely that they’ll have the #2 spot in the post season locked up with no chance to get the #1, convincing them to rest their starters for games that matter.

  21. By Viking33 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @ Frederick – I agree that Childress should have had the right and he did have the right that he excerised. He was quoted in saying that particular power was in his contract after he waived Moss. I am saying that the upper brass did not agree with the move, because it embarrassed them. So now they have put in place safegaurds against coaches making those types of decisions without having to get it through the upper brass first. I think that whole thing that happened with Moss/Childress was a look inside the mess that really exists in the Front Office.

  22. By Parody on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    I’m pretty surprised that the Lions have the highest pass/run ratio. I would have been certain that stat belonged to the Packers. All we ever hear about is their passing game, and any of their games that I watch, it looks like the run is used very sparringly.

  23. By Parody on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Viking33 – I think that if the coach gets the final say over who gets cut, then he should also get the final say over who gets signed/traded. Otherwise, they should take it to the other extreme, saying that the coach has no say over any player decisions, but this alternate option wouldn’t make things much better.

    The Moss debacle is a perfect example. If it wasn’t something that Childress was on board for from the beginning, he should have been allowed to overrule the trade. It was a huge waste bringing him in for only four games at the cost of a 3rd round pick.

  24. By animal26 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Twoodsnvikes: it actually doesn’t matter. I was like many who wanted Matt Kalil. However, it’s being reported that he’s going back to school.

  25. By Twoodsnvikes on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    According to what I’ve read today he still has not made a decision. With his QB leaving and him being ranked so high I would find it doubtful that he wouldn’t come out, he would be pretty dumb to not enter the draft

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2011/12/usc-football-matt-kalil-matt-barkley-nfl-draft.html

  26. By dmac32 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    We should trade down froma potential top three or four pick to get as much value as possible. In the miidle of the first, I really like Michael Floyd from Notre Dame. He is an absolute beast. He is the first and second option for Rees, and the defense knows it. His stats…95 receptions for 1106 and 8 TDs. I think that the offensive line needs time to gel, though I would be looking for a replacement for Loadholt. I would probably move Johnson to the right tackle spot and pursue a LT. If Floyd is not there, I would take the best available corner. If we keep the top five pick, it MUST be spent on a left tackle.

  27. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @Viking33 and Parody,

    We all agree that the Moss thing was A TANGLED MESS!!!

    In addition to the six-headed VP monster, we also have an 8 man ownership group.
    Who is calling the shots? IT’S A MESS!!!

    Maybe just call someone in to eliminate people and hire people so that the TANGELED MESS, becomes workable.

    There have been organizations who have went and hired to many VPs. They then
    DOWNSIZED the number of VPs. Obviously that’s tough to do…

    But I prefer 12-2, 10-4, 11-5, 13-3 type seasons over 6-10, 2-14…

    TALENT IS THE OVERIDING FACTOR AND WE MUST HAVE IT
    IN THE DEFENSIVE SECONDARY AND OFFENSIVE LINE AS WELL!!! :)

  28. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER FOR PETERSON’S SAKE!!!

  29. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    :) HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER!!!

    DENNIS GREEN

    BRIAN BILLICK

    ALAN PAGE

  30. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    @@@@@ HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER!!!

    DENNIS GREEN

    BRIAN B I L L I C K

    ALAN PAGE

  31. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& HIRE A GENERAL MANAGER!!!

    DENNIS GREEN

    BRIAN B I L L I C K

    ALAN PAGE

  32. By dmac32 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    I would look at either big, fast corners in the second or third rounds. Chase Minnifield from Virginia (6 foot with 4.4 speed) and jonathan Banks from Mississippi State (6’2″ with 4.4 speed) are two options. Minnifield is probably an early second pick. Banks is projected as a third round pick, who is probably better suited to the cover 2 scheme. Asante Samuel can be had, if we are willing to pay. I’ve been saying for the last two years to move Winfield to strong safety.

  33. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings must tab either an offensive lineman (Center or Tackle ideally) or
    a defensive back in the first round of the draft.

    Then get a topflight free agent of the one you didn’t draft!

  34. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    dmac32,

    I would think we would need all three of those guys, if they are as good as you say!!!

    Then we need similar acquisitions for the OLine. At least 3 above average players.

  35. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    That might put the Vikings into the playoffs in 2012.

  36. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    It’s more likely that we would trade picks 2-7 to move up and take Luck!!!

  37. By vikefanforlife on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    we need laron laundry and cortland finnegan

  38. By looki26 on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    we need Jonathan Banks or Stephon Gilmore look them up so far these are the only corners that are not scared to tackle and can cover well

  39. By Dirty Nasty Legs on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    I think we need to trade all our draft picks for the #1 overall pick and get a punter.

  40. By Frederick Jones on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    FIND a General Manager to do your dirty work!!!

  41. By saddy on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t like Stephen gilmore, he gives away too many big plays, morris is not a flashy player but always stays with the wr like Revis

  42. By Derrick.G on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    GUYS! I had a terrible dream last night that the Vikings were 2-10 and had no general manager.

  43. By chad mcclendon on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Is it jus me or wen one of the vikings player gets a concussion there atleast out for a week?? other players on other teams usually comeback the following week!!

  44. By Derrick.G on Dec 8, 2011 | Reply

    Think about this too Chad…..when players play bad on other teams, they bench them.

  45. By thenaj17 on Dec 9, 2011 | Reply

    Frederick Jones – dude, stop going on about hiring a general manager. We all know there are too many VP’s and we do need to hire 1 person to make decisions. BUT, the owners don’t read these blogs and it’s making ZERO difference. The only thing it is achieving is wasting your own time, getting yourself frustrated and clogging up these blogs.
    I’m with you and i hear ya, but unless you actually get to the team offices and protest with a huge group of fans, nothing will ever be done about it.

  46. By Carl on Dec 9, 2011 | Reply

    We need to get De Reed into the mix at De so we can put C. Ballard inside on some passing downs to spell KWill to keep him fresh. Rotate BRob inside on a few passing downs especially on 3rd down to keep that side of the line fresh.
    I agree we should draft Stephon Gilmore and sign Laron Landry in F/A and also sign Brandon Carr that would be a nice trio and draft another CB later in the draft. Keep Burton, Sherrels, Raymond because they had no mini camps. I think with some time they will be good players. Deactivate Remi Odeyle he sucks. Yes i know he has one sack big deal.

  47. By Carl on Dec 9, 2011 | Reply

    This is a little off the beaten but on kfan they were kicking around the idea of playing some of our younger players. I say with four games left go further bring Emmanuel Arceneaux WR to see what he has to offer at WR we could have a diamond in the rough. Reggie Jones DB we should mix him in at CB for 2 games and at S for 2 games lets see what he’s got to offer. Most importantly lets give Calib King a try because this could help on two fronts. First of alll we could rotate Gerhart and King into the line up this would free up booker for punt and kick off returns and let Adrian rest for a few more games. I think its a good idea because maybe on the DB front we fill a need in one of two spots.

  48. By Viking33 on Dec 9, 2011 | Reply

    @ Frederick – I would be ok with Green as GM – although his draft strategy was not draft for need, it was always draft the best player available, but somehow that seems to work itself out for him. Billick….hmmm I don’t know I think he has a Matt Millen complex (never Wrong). Alan Page…..is intriiguing, I do not know enough about him other than he is a strong personality and a smart, hard working man that never backed down from anything – hey he might work out.

  49. By Texvike on Dec 11, 2011 | Reply

    I always have trouble posting stuff, but, if this goes thru…. My Vote is, get rif of Rick Spielman.. The lions were a mess when he was there, and now the vikes are a mess… Also, Rob Brznski (sp) cratered the Chiefs, then came over and cratered the Vikes… Ziggy needs some serious football wisdom from somebody, he obviously doesn’t have any of his own….

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