Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Alan Williams on Everson Griffen: 'Wow! We have something here'

Posted by: under Vikings Updated: October 4, 2012 - 2:47 PM

Everson Griffen is enjoying a breakthrough in his third NFL season. He currently leads the Vikings with three sacks through four games. And those have all come in big moments in the fourth quarter of games.

On Thursday, Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams reflected back to last winter when he began familiarizing himself with Griffen’s skill set for the first time.

“I was looking at tape sitting in my office and there was a blur going across the screen,” Williams said. “I was thinking, ‘Is that a linebacker? Is that a safety running across the field?’ And I went back and forth a couple of times. Then I got my program out and I looked at it and it was Everson Griffen.

“I looked at his height and weight and I was thinking, ‘Wow, we have something here.’”

Williams said he immediately went across the hall to talk to linebackers coach Fred Pagac and defensive line coach Brendan Daly and learned more about Griffen’s background and potential. Most of all, Williams was excited about the speed Griffen had at 6-foot-3, 273 pounds.

“I just wanted to make sure we put him in positions where we thought he could be successful,” Williams said. “That’s what I think this defensive staff has done. We’ve placed him in spots where he can flourish.”

Griffen flourished down the stretch in Detroit, delivering two sacks late to preserve the Vikings’ 20-13 win.

Hunt and gather

The emergence of guys like Griffen and nose tackle Letroy Guion along with solid contributions from guys like Fred Evans has been encouraging on a number of fronts. It not only allows the Vikings to find favorable match-ups in the trenches. But the ability to rotate guys in and out without much dropoff should keep the defense humming.

“It keeps guys fresh,” Williams said. “We want to make sure at the end of the ball game, that when it comes down to 2-minute – and most ballgames do come down to the 2 minutes – that we have enough guys that are fresh and ready to go and that can hunt. And we want guys to be able to run to the football and hunt in those 2-minute situations. And the more guys that you have playing in those first quarters, second quarter, third quarter, the fresher guys will be when it comes down to closing ball games out.”

Did you see that?

Remember that major hit rookie safety Harrison Smith put on Calvin Johnson late in the first half of Sunday’s win, a blow that turned a touchdown catch into an incompletion? Williams hopes a lot of people around the league take note. “We want to put physical play on tape,” Williams said. “We want to show people that we’re going to run to the ball. And that when they play the Minnesota Vikings, it’s going to be a long day in terms of it being a physical ballgame. That’s the way we want to play – a physical style of football. And it was good to see that Harrison did get the ball out.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT