Jun 17, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Scott Crichton (95) runs drills at practice at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Rang Thinks Scott Crichton is a Great Fit For Vikings' Scheme

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Third round pick Scott Crichton has a big fan in CBSSports.com columnist Rob Rang. As part of his series “Finding the Fits,” Rang talks about how perfect the versatile Oregon State D-lineman could be in Mike Zimmer’s system with its emphasis on rotation and role.

As Rang argues, Crichton’s ability to line up at both end spots and inside at tackle should serve him well on Zimmer’s defense. That versatility should guarantee Crichton a fair number of snaps in his rookie season.

Rang also points to Crichton’s run-stopping ability as a plus in Zimmer’s system. Zimmer isn’t a cut-them-loose kind of guy when it comes to his D-line, which is part of the reason why his linemen seldom put up huge individual sack numbers. Zimmer likes guys who play the run and rush the passer equally well, and Crichton fits that bill.

The more you consider Crichton’s particular attributes – his motor as well as his versatility – the more you understand why the Vikings took him in the third round. This is a Zimmer pick all the way.

Crichton figures to be a major piece of the puzzle as Zimmer seeks to remake the Vikings’ defense according to his philosophies, which are very different from those employed by the last couple of regimes. Gone are the days of players like Jared Allen racking up huge sack numbers. Gone are the days of starters hogging the vast majority of the defensive snaps.

The future is all about fitting guys into specific roles, and making sure that there’s a solid rotation of multiple players. Don’t be surprised if Scott Crichton ends up having a bigger impact in the short term even than first round pick Anthony Barr, who has a steeper learning curve than Crichton.

Rang says of Crichton:

The flashy first round picks will ultimately determine the success of the Vikings’ 2014 draft. Whereas Barr and Teddy Bridgewater bring some boom or bust concerns, Crichton’s dependability against the run and pass makes him arguably Minnesota’s safest pick.

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  • David Mallow

    I absolutely loved it when they selected Crichton. He was a guy leading up to the draft I really thought would be a great player at the next level,especially considering that he also lead the conference in forced fumbles…he is non-stop and plays really hard..it also gives us 3 DEs that can play the ends or move inside ( Crichton, Griffen and Wooton) I love that we will finally have sold depth among the line,it’s been awhile.

    • Dmi Dru

      Oh yes i can’t wait for season

  • Zack Selzman

    Allen and Williams started for a reason last season. I think that Joseph will be a solid replacement for Williams, but will Chrichton or Griffen be solid replacements for Allen? That is a much bigger unknown right now. I know Williams and Allen area both a year older and I am not comparing what the line would be if we kept them, sadly those were decent roster moves. I am just not sold on the idea that we will lose two starters and have an improved D-Line this year, especially with the replacement of Allen. There are a lot of question marks on this line and if all the stars align they could be impressive, but with all the unknowns I would not bet on a Defensive line that is much better than last year and it is possible that we will look at last years group as the good ole days.

    • kyle

      I don’t share your pessimism for losing two starters on the D-line. Allen may have been a sack machine, but he was a below average run defender and too many times did I see him whiff at the quarterback. Williams’ best says are behind him. He should’ve played more of the 1-technique as he was very dominant when he was put in that role.

      Enter Linval Joseph and Ever son Griffen. Joseph is the gigantic DT we’ve been missing for years. Excellent run defender and will almost always take up two blockers. Griffen has consistently been 3rd in sacks since joining the team in 2010 and is a much better run defender than Allen. Not to mention you didn’t even mention anything about Zimmer’s Attacking 4-3 he runs. This will be an exciting year to be a fan of the Vikings. And I guarantee you by mid season that you will no longer havethis pessimism.

      • Zack Selzman

        If Everson Griffen is better than Allen then why didn’t he start last year? At best he may be almost as good as Allen was last year and we are hoping he will take a big step up. Last year Joseph was much better than Williams was, but he is nowhere near the DT that WIlliams was in 2012, which is really what vikings fans are dreaming of, a Vikings 2012 type defense. In order for that to happen the post injury Joseph needs to take a big step up, Griffen needs to take a big step up or Crichton needs to be amazing, and that is just on the D-line, don’t get me started on the Linebackers.

        • kyle

          Griffen didn’t start last year because Frazier was too loyal to veterans. That should’ve been obvious last year, especially when our season was over and kept all the young linebackers on the sideline. I think you’re overanalyzing the fact that we lost two starters. However, we lost two starters at the end of their careers. Let’s also factor in the scheme with the new players in place and it could be a recipe for an exciting season. The only area on defense I’m concerned about is linebacker depth. Still more questions than answers there.

        • Todd Robinson

          Allen was a 19 million dollar player who GROSSLY under-achieved last year. A one-trick-pony who was getting long in the tooth. Griff is an up and comer who earned his way into a starting role. He’ll take full advantage of this opportunity, and will reward the Vikings for having faith in him.

          • Zack Selzman

            In other words, you think that Gritten will take a big step up this year, because he’s an up and comer and he earned his way, etc.. etc.. That is still counting on a big step up to take place that may or may not actually take place.

            Griffen may or may not do really really well, in a limited number of snaps he has looked pretty good, but really he is a complete and total unknown. I have more faith that Crichton will do really well than I have faith that Griffen will do well because Crichton does not have the down side of not having been able to take the starting job away from an under-performer last year. This whole leap of faith that everyone is making on the status of the D-Line this year on these boards is completely unexplainable, it completely relies on the premise that Frazier was a complete and total moron who was incapable of giving more snaps to a superior player.. I don’t buy that. I buy the premise that Griffen starts close to the level of Allen’s performance last year.

          • Todd Robinson

            No Zack, I don’t feel Griff needs to take a “big step” to be an above average DE, in this league. He’s played very well, with the limited playing time he’s been given, which you seem to concede. Yet, you still call him a complete and total unknown?
            You speak to Frazier being a moron for not giving Griff more playing time (if deserved). As I recall, Allen didn’t want to leave the field, so he tried to get Griff playing time at LB in an effort to get him and Allen on the field together. This experiment failed, but the effort was made.
            In your last sentence you say, Griff will play close to Allens level…….pretty good for a complete and total unknown!! I’d say (if your statement is true) that Griff will be much more cost effective option than Allen was, without loosing much. Well, preseason is coming! I think this O-line will be a strong point for us this year, and Griff will be a big contributor.

          • Zack Selzman

            Allen and Williams not wanting to leave the field would not be enough by itself to have Frazier keep him in with their subpar play last year, that had to be coupled with a lack of a clearly better option in order for Frazier to have made the choices he made. The D-Line was horrible last year, and Allen and Williams were both a bad part of that. Despite that Griffen did not replace Allen in the lineup and Patterson did not replace Williams. So.. If Patterson is able to play up to Williams level from last year and Griffen is able to play at Allen’s level last year then the Defensive line is still a major concern. Replacing Evans with Joseph is a great addition, that is a big step up there, but we need players who are substantially better than Williams and Allen were last year if we are going to get back to the 2012 level. In order for that to happen both Griffen and Floyd will need to take a big step up because they were not able to replace players who were not performing last year. Allen and WIlliams were not performing well last year and Frazier did not substantially reduce their playing time by putting anyone else in there and I do not believe that was because he was an idiot, or because Williams and Allen “didn’t want to leave” but because he felt that the replacements available were not a better option.

          • Todd Robinson

            I agree with your logic here. As far as benching the great Jarod Allen, for Griffen, this man is making 19 mill and change. The fallout from such a move could have cost Lezlie his job much earlier than it did. I do agree that Allen was left in because he was always a snap away from a big play. With these Vikings, big plays were in short supply. It was not known through the coarse of the season that Allen wasn’t the same. He played himself into that reality.
            As for myself, I worry more about Mr Floyd than I do Griffen. I still have only seen sporadic evidence that he is a first round talent. Reports are that he is hard at work correcting issues with his game, so I hope he’ll be fine. In Zimmer I Trust!!!!

          • Todd Robinson

            By the way……did we have a DT named Patterson on this team last year???

        • kyle

          Last year’s coaching staff was way too loyal to veteran players. Griffen still played, but remained in his rotational role. Griffen is, by far, a much better run defender than allen ever was and, if you look back at the tape against Arizona, was constantly in the backfield. That’s what we can expect from him. Constant pressure on the quarterback and a stalwart in the run game.

  • Bob T

    Just you wait and see!!! This defensive line will be the highlight of the season. Coaches will be changing there approach and copying the Viking philosophy.I seen too many times last year where a left tackle extended his arms and guided Allen into a large loop of a rush. Sure, he would keep coming, but by mid 3rd quarter he was spent. Jarrod’s competitive nature had him begging to stay in, instead of taking a breather and Leslie complied. That won’t happen this year. Mike is the BOSS, and he knows it starts in the trenches. It takes the pressure off those behind them. Just you wait and see. SKOL VIKINGS

    • Todd Robinson

      If your right Bob, and the D-line is the “highlight” of the season, that is going to pay HUGE HUGE dividends on the back end. I’m thinking a top 5 defense……IF……you are right. What a welcome change that would be!!!

  • cka2nd

    I’m loving the defensive ends and nose tackle but if the rumors are true that Spielman made a last minute run at Kevin Williams before he signed with Seattle, that worries me about Floyd. If it was just Tom Johnson not working out, they could give Fred Evans or Corey Wootton some reps in the RDT rotation, or maybe Crichton or Shamar Stephen. They would not be silly enough to try to re-sign Williams if they were just looking for a back-up and rotational guy behind Floyd.

    I really hope that Spielman didn’t pull another Winfield in cutting Williams a year too soon, and I really, REALLY hope that Floyd is not another so-so starter in the mold of Chris Hovan, who replaced John Randle, or James “Duck” White, who replaced Alan Page.

    • Troy Meyerink

      Pull another Winfield? Winfield was cut that next year by Seattle and retired… not sure how that was a Spielman failure.

      • cka2nd

        Yes, but OUR secondary was nowhere near as good as Seattle’s secondary. Not to mention that Winfield was excellent in the slot his last year – pass coverage as well as run defense – and Spielman and/or Frasier thought that they could replace Winfield in the slot with a second-year cornerback with no slot experience. How’d that work out?

    • David Mallow

      They wanted to resign Williams only to have him retire a Viking..not worried at all about Floyd he will be fine, besides there is a new boss on that line..LINVAL JOSEPH IS A BEAST…he alone will make the dline better..and Winfield was no longer worth the money and was declining…get over it,stop saying it is a failure on Spiemans part…it is called building for the future..tough times happen to every team

      • cka2nd

        If that’s true about wanting him to retire as a Vike, thanks for the clarification. Nevertheless, Williams played well last year, not at a Pro Bowl level, true, but he was still a solid starter well above the league average. You may be right about Floyd – God knows I was wrong about Fusco – but he was the least impressive of the three first rounders last year and is no sure thing. I’ve lived through the Alan Page to James “Duck” White and John Randle to Chris Hovan transitions and they weren’t pretty.

        Yup, Joseph was a great signing, but IT WAS ABOUT TIME. Why coaches and GM’s persist in trying to play defensive tackles out of position, I do not know. After Remi Ayodele bombed in 2011, it might have been nice if they had gone out and gotten a true run-stuffer instead of trying to squeeze Kevin Williams’ 295-lb. back-up into the role.

        Setting aside his still amazing tackling, Pro Football Focus ranked Winfield’s pass coverage in the green for the 2012 season. More, his slot coverage slot was spectacular, including no touchdowns while spending half the season inside. And as I noted above in responding to Troy, our secondary needed him and did not have an adequate replacement, while Seattle’s apparently did.

        I have no problem with building for the future and Lord knows I’ve lived through tough times with the Vikings, but there’s smart building for the future – letting mid-tier guys like Ben Leber go, not betting the farm on a Brad Johnson revival – and there’s dumb and frankly arrogant actions like low-balling and then cutting a long-time and popular starter who is still playing at a high level and trying to replace him in his specialty – slot coverage – with a complete neophyte. One, I might add, who may not even make the team this year, let alone start or be the first guy off the bench. So yeah, in my honest opinion, cutting Winfield was a failure on Spielman’s part.

  • brian199511

    Great pick and article. I feel good about the d-line but the secondary and linebackers are still a concern until people prove themselves.