The Free Press, Mankato, MN


August 5, 2013

Maturing Griffen looks for more playing time


"You have to be careful because you want to play him everywhere," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said, adding: "Then I think you water down what a guy does. ... Limit the stuff that he does and let him go out there and play and hone his craft."

They've settled on using him at nose tackle in the nickel package when Letroy Guion comes out in obvious passing situations as well as at both end spots to give Allen and Robison breaks.

"He has such a really special combination of speed and burst along with power, and it's rare to find guys like that," Daly said. "You'll find lighter guys who are explosive, fast, can turn the corner, can dip and can bend, but they don't always have the explosiveness and the powerful strength that he's got."

Griffen, who has a six-month-old son, Grayson, and is engaged to be married next summer, pointed to increased playing time as additional fuel for his improvement.

"The more reps you get in this league the better you're going to be," he said.

The Vikings will gladly keep giving them out.

"He's been a bright spot, the way he's practiced, the attitude that he's had," Frazier said. "Really looking forward to watching how he develops."

NOTES: LB Desmond Bishop (groin) and CB Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) each missed practice due to lingering leg muscle injuries. CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) and FS Mistral Raymond (hamstring) have been on that list but were back in the mix for drills Monday. ... Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson will be the kickoff returner. He's being evaluated as a punt returner, too, perhaps in the exhibition game Friday. Others in the mix behind incumbent Marcus Sherels are Stephen Burton, Bobby Felder and possibly Jarius Wright. Patterson happened to be there in practice Monday when rookie Jeff Locke's punt from the end zone soared over his head, about 65 yards in the air with a tail wind, and rolled after the landing to around the other 10-yard line. Yes, that's 90 yards.

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