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 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.”

  • 14
  • Comments


Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 0 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: A. Bastardo 1
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 5 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7
Toronto - LP: R. Dickey 0 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 7
Seattle - LP: J. Beimel 6 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 8
Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 2 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: M. Bumgarner 1
Colorado - WP: F. Morales 3 FINAL
San Diego - LP: I. Kennedy 1
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Washington - LP: T. Jordan 0
Milwaukee - LP: R. Wooten 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez 11
NY Yankees - WP: C. Sabathia 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: D. Price 2
Toronto - LP: S. Santos 5 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: C. Fien 9
Boston - WP: J. Lester 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario 1
Kansas City - WP: J. Shields 5 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Feldman 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Chicago 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Minnesota 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 5
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
San Jose 6
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13




question of the day

Poll: Will you boo Jared Allen when he returns with the Bears?

Weekly Question