The great Everson Griffen linebacker experiment appears to have been permanently terminated. The Vikings wanted to increase Griffen’s defensive role and felt linebacker was the only position where he could get more snaps, but he never took to the new position and now Leslie Frazier says he’s back to being a defensive end full-time.
“We saw enough of him at linebacker,” Frazier said on Monday. “We feel like this is going to be better for him. We talked to him Sunday night when we got back [from San Francisco]. And he agrees that this is better for him to focus on that position.”
The Griffen experiment began last year when Fred Pagac started using him in special nickel packages as a joker, and the intention was to expand the role in this year’s camp, but after weeks of work Griffen was still running with the threes and just didn’t look like he belonged. Friday’s preseason opener, where Griffen made no impact whatsoever playing alongside Audie Cole and Solomon Elimimian in the second half, apparently sealed the deal.
Now the question is, how to get the ferocious Griffen on the field enough for him to significantly impact games. The Vikings do intend rotating their defensive ends more so Griffen should see increased action. It might also be possible to play him at the nose in pass rush situations. The important thing is to get Griffen on the field, because when he plays, he makes things happen.