Griffen gets to stretch his legs

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 17, 2012 - 12:06 AM

The large but mobile third-year Viking put the game squarely in his team's corner with a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown.

hide

Everson Griffen was trailed by Chad Greenway en route to the end zone in the second quarter. “Ev can run,” Greenway said. “He’s a freak.”

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

ST. LOUIS - "Wide Blast, 23 Sky" was the Vikings' defensive call that epitomized the state of utter confusion that Rams quarterback Sam Bradford found himself in during the first half of Sunday's game at the Edward Jones Dome.

An aggressive game plan by Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams threw more blitz packages at Bradford than he had seen at any point on tape while preparing for the Vikings. By the time "Wide Blast, 23 Sky" was dialed up with just under nine minutes left in the half, he was ripe for a big mistake.

And boy was it a doozy.

With the Rams facing third-and-9 from their 21-yard line, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway bluffed a C-gap blitz to the right of left end Everson Griffen. But at the snap of the ball, both Greenway and Griffen dropped into coverage to Bradford's right.

The Vikings rushed three linemen, middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley and cornerback Antoine Winfield off the blind side. Feeling the pressure, Bradford threw to his right in hopes of connecting with tight end Lance Kendricks. But Griffen stepped in front of the pass at the 29-yard line.

"I asked him at the end of the third quarter, 'Did you see me?' and he said he seen me but he thought I was going to play the underneath route," Griffen said. "But I just stayed right in the middle and he threw it right to me."

Bradford said he didn't talk to Griffen.

"I've got to be able to see that," Bradford. "He's right there. Can't throw one to him like that."

Griffen is such a great athlete that Greenway already was raising an arm in a pre-touchdown celebration when Griffen was still at the 26-yard line.

"Ev can run," Greenway said. "It's ridiculous. He's a freak."

Receiver Chris Givens even had an angle on Griffen, but the 6-3, 273-pounder with the 4.6 speed still got to the right sideline and into the end zone. It was his first interception, first touchdown and first touchdown celebration.

"It's called the 'Sack Daddy,'" Griffen said. "One day, me and Chris Cook were just hanging out at a Saturday walkthrough. I came up with it and I've just been doing it since."

Griffen normally is a situational pass rusher, but he was forced into full-time duty when starter Brian Robison injured his right shoulder midway through the first quarter. Robison left the stadium with his arm in a sling and is day to day, said coach Leslie Frazier, who sounds comfortable starting Griffen if he has to.

"He has really become a student of the game," Frazier said. "He's really working at his craft. As Everson has matured, he has become more of a pro at his craft. And it's paying off."

Athletically, Griffen always has been gifted. As a senior at Agua Fria High in Avondale, Ariz., he had 16 sacks while also rushing for 1,251 yards and 20 touchdowns.

"I've got some wheels," he said. "I've always thought about something like this happening. It was a dream come true. I want to say, 'Thank you, Sam Bradford.'"

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 55 3rd Qtr 6:17
Phoenix 62
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 3rd Prd 13:43
Vancouver 4
Chicago 3 3rd Prd 15:03
Anaheim 0
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
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: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close