[Note from Brett: We're happy to have Mr. Lemke back for another bold prediction for the 2013 season. In prediction #10, Branden submitted that Harrison Smith will be a pro bowl safety this year. In #9, he predicted that the Vikings will hold six receivers on the final roster including Joe Webb and Greg Childs. This time, see how Branden thinks Everson Griffen will fair in 2013.]

Perhaps one of the most underrated players on our defense, and maybe even the entire NFL, is defensive end Everson Griffen. His production as a career backup to Brian Robison has been stellar. 2012 was his best year, racking up 26 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and who could forget his interception returned for a touchdown against the St Louis Rams? Despite his backup status, I expect to see Everson Griffen push Brian Robison for even more playing time in the rotation, and ultimately, I think Griffen is our guy long term at the left defensive end spot.

Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, and Everson Griffen are all entering the last year of their contracts. I love all these players, but realistically, the Vikings can’t afford to keep all of them. Griffen is by far the youngest of the group, and if he can put up numbers like he did last year, I think there’s no question the Vikings will pick him over Robison when all is said and done. I think we’ll see Griffen’s playing time increase heavily over the course of the 2013 season, and I am predicting he’ll finish with 35 tackles, 8-10 sacks, and a few forced fumbles. I don’t know what the Vikings thoughts are on keeping Kevin Williams or Jared Allen, given the cost of keeping both of those players may be out of the Vikings financial reach by the end of the season. In a perfect world, all four would be re-signed, but sadly we may be losing some fan favorites in 2014.