Time is running out for Vikings safeties to challenge incumbent Andrew Sendejo for the starting job.
Beyond that, just getting a roster spot is still at stake for nearly every safety not named Harrison Smith or Sendejo. That includes 10th-year veteran Michael Griffin, who signed a one-year deal this offseason to jump into a new team, scheme and mix of safeties after nine years in Tennessee.
“I don’t know,” Griffin said Thursday when asked of his stance on the roster. “Some guys got released [last year] and didn’t get another opportunity. So, it’s just a blessing to be able to come back out here and have one more shot. You know, give it another try and run. I guess we’ll see next week.”
Griffin sounded like a veteran who would consider all options should he not make the Vikings’ final roster, which needs to be whittled to 53 players by Sept. 3.
However, he’s not resigned to anything. Apart from taking on scout duties in practice, which is rare for a veteran, Griffin has also continued playing through injuries. He dislocated each ring finger during the week of the preseason opener in Cincinnati and managed 17 snaps in the exhibition.
He started next to Smith the following week in Seattle, all while adapting to a new defense.
“Mike is a good pro,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Here’s a guy who’s played for a number of years in a different system and has come in and learned our system. I think it’s been good for him to learn a different way to do it. You know, we’re asking him to do a lot of things he’s never done before.”
The Vikings kept four safeties after roster cuts last season, and Griffin’s audition will continue Sunday vs. San Diego. Then he’ll have to show coaches why he’s worth a spot over young teammates Antone Exum Jr., Jayron Kearse and Anthony Harris.
“Got an opportunity to come here, compete and it’s not over yet,” Griffin said. “We’ll see how it falls.”
CP comeback ahead?
Cordarrelle Patterson matched his reception total from last regular season (two) in his preseason debut last week, flashing unquestioned talent by taking a couple screen passes for 17 yards vs. the Seahawks.
The fourth-year receiver has plenty of motivation entering a contract season. Patterson said even more comes from wanting to prove doubters wrong. The 29th overall pick in 2013 hasn’t started for the Vikings since Nov. 2, 2014, after disappointing coaches with inconsistent play at receiver.
“There’s been a lot of things coming at me each year,” Patterson said. “I feel like this year is the year to shut everybody up. A lot of people are always talking, man. Fans, reporters, doesn’t matter who it is. People are always talking, tweeting at you saying bad things.”
On Thursday, Zimmer praised Patterson’s focus and dedication to details.
First to go
Just days before Tuesday’s initial roster cuts, the Vikings made the first move.
Cornerback Melvin White was waived Thursday, thinning one of the team’s deepest position groups. White, 26, had only recently returned to practice after injuries limited him through training camp.
The Vikings roster carries 89 players and needs to be trimmed down to 75 by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Don’t expect to see left tackle Matt Kalil or cornerback Xavier Rhodes before the regular season.
Kalil, Rhodes (hamstring) and defensive tackle Scott Crichton were held out of Thursday’s practice. Rhodes has been held back since injuring his leg a week ago in Seattle, while Kalil has now missed consecutive practices leading to Sunday’s preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium with what appeared to be a leg injury.