Sunday, February 1, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "everson griffen"

everson griffen

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Infamous for his flip over a defender and his extra curricular activity with a funky leaf, Jerome Simpson’s now scores some “honest” credit for a recent off-season workout. Simpson was spotted running sprints and catching passes at the private training camp of the All-Everything wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) doesn’t allow players to use team facilities during this time period before the start of training camp, so Fitzgerald brings his camp home to Minnesota. Every July since 2009, The University of Minnesota has allowed Larry and 25 to 50 of his friends to workout and use the stadium, practice fields, weight rooms and other facilities.

This camp is known for being very intense with conditioning, lifting in the weight room, and the competition on the field. Fitzgerald has a reputation for being a workout warrior, so I’m hoping some of that work ethic will rubs off on Simpson. Wide receivers at the camp also get quality instruction on route running techniques by former Vikings’ great Cris Carter.

Sidney Rice had a Pro Bowl season in Minnesota after attending his first Fitzgerald camp in 2009. Last year Everson Griffen attended the camp and he went on to have a solid year collecting 26 tackles and 8 sacks in a rotational roll.

Jerome hopes that his time at the Fitzgerald camp will be a step in the right direction for him as well.

“I wanted to work with one of the greats,” Simpson said, via Chip Scoggins. “I got an opportunity to come down here and work with him so I wanted to take full advantage of it.”

“I’m trying to pick his brain while I’m here and try and get in the same position that he is,” Simpson said. “He’s a great receiver. When I was in college, I always looked up to him. It’s an honor to be able to train with him.”

Last season Simpson had 26 catches for 274 yards for the Vikings. Can Simpson “flip” those numbers into something more productive this year?

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[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.

Jared Allen has said that the surgery to repair his torn labrum, which we already knew about, was the first surgery he’s had during his entire professional career.  In fact, he said it was the first surgery he’s had since getting his tonsils out at the age of five.

According to Tom Pelissero, however, Allen got two surgeries done on the same day.

In addition to the torn labrum, Allen had a “minor” knee issue taken care of on the same day, and is expected to be ready for June’s minicamp.

Allen will be 31 years old in a couple of days and is entering the final year of his contract.  He is set to make a base salary of $14.28 million, with a cap hit of $17.06 million, and these facts have led some to wonder if Allen could be a candidate for a contract extension or even as a trade possibility.

The free agent market this offseason has been flooded with big name veteran pass rushers, and the Draft is very talented and deep in this area, so it seems highly unlikely the Vikings would find any offers of interest on the trade market.

Allen’s age and injuries, as well as the overabundant market, may cause the Vikings to balk at the idea of giving Allen any sort of lucrative extension.  An extension would surely mean they have to invest more guaranteed money into Allen, or else he would have little motivation to sign it, and the Vikings may just not feel comfortable with the idea of making such a commitment.

The idea of convincing Allen to take any sort of pay cut is laughable, considering the only reason he is a Viking in the first place was the stubborn stance he took with the Chiefs after they applied the franchise tag to him so many years ago, and he would surely have all the leverage in this situation, as well.

With Everson Griffen and Brian Robison still on the team, the Vikings could theoretically decide to release Allen and begin the process of developing younger talent, but I just don’t see that happening despite the salary cap benefits that would result in the move.  Allen is a beloved figure in Minnesota and his dip in productivity last season has, by many, been attributed to his shoulder issue.

Don’t be surprised if Allen plays out his current contract, under his current salary, and then decides to test the market in 2014 when maybe defensive end options won’t be as plentiful for needy teams.

[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacksrunning backs,fullbacks,tight endscentersguardsoffensive tackleswide receiverssafeties, cornerbacks, and linebackers.  We’ll continue our way through all of the positions this week.]

Well, I have to start this one with a disclosure.  The lines between a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker continue to blur more and more with each passing season.  We have already done the linebacker rankings in a previous post, but there are plenty of 3-4 defensive ends on today’s list that would be best suited as outside linebackers if the Vikings were to sign them.  Still, I wanted to keep these lists true to the current positions these guys are playing.

Okay, with that being said, onto the defensive end situation.  The Vikings seem very solid with Jared Alllen, Brian Robison, and Everson Griffen each continuing to play at a high level.  There has been talk that the Vikings might be best served to try and deal the aging Allen this offseason, but I think it is far more likely that they will try to extend his contract and ease the damage he does to the salary cap.  The Vikings have talented pass rushers with intriguing developmental guys already in place behind the top three.

I wouldn’t expect them to throw a ton of money at this position during this offseason, but it never hurts to take a look at what might be available (while also scoping out an outside linebacker or two):

Top Tier

I’m only putting guys in this category if I think they could possibly be upgrades over one of our current starters, and the guy I think that most represents that type of talent is defensive end Michael Johnson of the Bengals.  At age 26, Johnson is the exact age you want your big money free agent to be, and he is a Pro Bowl defender against both the run and the pass.  He is likely to get slapped with the franchise tag.

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It took about a whole two, maybe three, hours before the disappointment from getting our butts handed to us via the Green Bay Packers vanished and the excitement for the offseason completely consumed me. Free agents? The draft?! Possible trades? Veterans leaving? New talent?

I love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I was as bummed about the loss as the next hardcore Vikings fan (well, maybe not as much as this guy…) but the postseason letdown didn’t feel as bad this time. Maybe it was because deep down I knew once it was announced Christian Ponder wouldn’t be starting that we would lose the game and then the next three to four hours was just a realization of that fact. Maybe it’s because nothing could have happened in the playoffs that would take away from what an amazing season 2012 was. (And, folks, it was an amazing football season.) Who knows, really.

What I do know is that I was, and am, at peace with what the Vikings did this year and what I think they’ll do in the near future.

There’s a lot to be excited about with this team. There’s a ton to look forward to this offseason and some great stories to look out for.

Here are five of the biggest stories headed into the offseason. Stories that we will be covering in [exhausting] detail here at Vikings Territory, I’m sure. Of course, there will always be a few (maybe more) developments that catch us all by surprise. You can be sure we’ll have those, too.

(Note: These do not include general things like “the draft” or “free agency.” It’s a given those will be huge. I tried to think of specific storylines that will provide intrigue, mystery and excitement.)

5. The New Stadium

I almost didn’t include the stadium on the list because it seems that, now that we’ve got our stadium, it’s more of a “I don’t care how it happens, just get it here” type thing. But, after Adam mentioned it to me when I queried the inner-workings of his very knowledgeable Vikings mind, I started to see why it could become something we talk about frequently during the offseason.

It shouldn’t be long until we start seeing a real design for this thing.  And that will be pretty dang cool. We’ll finally get to see what this thing will look like. What features it will have. Does it have a retractable roof? Seat warmers? Does it have a mammoth monitor floating eerily above the ant-sized players a hundred or so feet below? Who knows.

It will be something tangible at that point. Something we can look at and say, “Okay. So that’s going to be where I take my children to watch my Minnesota Vikings a few years from now.” (Maybe more if you’re me).

It’s been an idea up until this point. A finalized design that we can see is a big step to it becoming a real, real reality. (A real one.)

4. Backup Quarterback Backup Plan

Christian Ponder’s late season surge (and potentially even his absence from the playoff game at Lambeau) solidified his role as the Vikings starter at quarterback next season. Head coach Leslie Frazier has even already made it public. That’s all good and fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Vikings still need to figure some things out at the quarterback position during the offseason.

I’m not going to torch Joe Webb too much because I honestly feel like he’s better than what he showed Saturday in Green Bay. The guy was thrown into an incredibly difficult situation under an offensive coordinator who remained steadfast in his stubborn ways and refused to adjust his game plan to increase the likelihood of success for Webb. Nevertheless, I don’t think Joe Webb is somebody who can really threaten Ponder for the starting position and light a fire under his butt, so to speak.

I think Ponder is going to be a good quarterback with a little more development. I take a lot of heat for that position but I’ve held it since he was drafted and I still hold it today. But I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not a sure thing. He is not a sure thing. And the Vikings need to have a Plan B just in case it doesn’t pan out with #7.

Personally, I’d like Spielman and Co. to do some superb scouting and find a quarterback in the middle rounds who has a lot of upside. It’s also possible the team could just to go the free agent route. (Also, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s entirely possible the Vikings could not address it at all…)

Nevertheless, I think how the roster shapes up behind Ponder is something to keep an eye on.

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