This time, both head coach and player say Everson Griffen will return from a foot injury Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. Let Griffen tell you.
“My foot feels great,” Griffen said Wednesday. “Yeah, I’ll be playing on Sunday for sure.”
Griffen missed a game for the first time this season last week despite Mike Zimmer repeatedly saying he expected Griffen to play in Washington. But Griffen’s return was postponed a week to make sure he didn’t risk a long-term absence.
His return is just in time, too. The Vikings did not get a sack last week against Redskins left tackle Trent Williams. They again face one of the NFL’s best left tackles in the Rams’ Andrew Whitworth, whom Zimmer knows well. Whitworth, a former All-Pro selection, played for the Bengals during Zimmer’s tenure as defensive coordinator from 2008-13.
“He’s huge, number one. He’s smart. He’s got good feet,” Zimmer said of Whitworth, praising his technique: “Typically, he likes to set with his hands out. He doesn’t give you his hands a lot.”
Whitworth, along with ex-Vikings center John Sullivan, have been among the reasons for the revival of the Rams offense, which bounced from dead last in 2016 to the NFL’s best so far this season, scoring nearly 33 points per game. They’ve helped bring along L.A.’s young franchise quarterback, Jared Goff.
“John was a big priority,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Probably one of the smartest players I’ve been around, if not the smartest. You feel like you’re communicating with a coach talking to him.”
Griffen needs at least one sack in his next two games to tie the NFL record of 10 consecutive games with a sack, shared by Simon Fletcher (Broncos, 1992-’93) and DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys, 2007-’08).
Vikings’ concerns ‘crazy,’ Olsen says
Days after the Vikings expressed concern to the NFL and Fox Sports over Greg Olsen’s assignment in the broadcast boost for Sunday’s Vikings-Rams game, the Panthers tight end told Carolina reporters it’s “crazy” to think he’s gaining an advantage for his team. The Vikings and Panthers play Dec. 10 in Carolina. Olsen will still be in the broadcast booth on Sunday.
“I don’t know how much time I’ll have for stealing of secrets,” Olsen told reporters Wednesday. “I never was intending or thought I was in a production meeting. I never thought I would watch a practice.”
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman’s brother, Chris, is a broadcaster for Fox Sports and has previously covered the Vikings and their opponent. Olsen has been on injured reserve since September with a broken foot but has said he hopes to return to the field this month.
Right tackle Mike Remmers returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he suffered a concussion Oct. 29 against the Browns. He had started 45 straight games before sitting out last week in Washington.
The relatively healthy Vikings were without just one player in Wednesday’s practice: safety Andrew Sendejo, who is dealing with groin and hamstring injuries. Sendejo missed a game last month because of an injured groin.
The Vikings also got back reserve lineman Jeremiah Sirles, who was limited in his return from a sprained knee suffered Oct. 21 against the Ravens.
Pick one? Take two
Tight end Kyle Rudolph knows the Vikings have been “all over the place” with quarterbacks since he arrived via a second-round draft pick in 2011. In fact, they’ve started eight different passers in his seven NFL seasons. So he’s not too concerned with naming one leader of the offense between Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater.
“If you’re looking at it that way and whose team this is?” Rudolph said. “You’re looking at it the wrong way and you don’t get the appreciation for what both of these guys have done to get to where they are today.”