Cedric Griffin didn't start on Sunday. That part was expected. The extent of his sideline time was the surprising part.
Griffin opened and closed the Minnesota Vikings' 42-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints with a towel over his head standing on the sideline. The only action the former starter and second-round draft pick got was covering kicks on special teams.
"That was something that was coordinated already. It was coordinated and that's all I can say about that," Griffin said after the game.
Actually, he said "coordinated" 10 times in a short interview in explaining why he didn't play on defense, an event he said didn't surprise him.
"It's just coordinated. Just coordinated. Go look it up. I'm sure you know what that means. Coordinated. Coordinated," Griffin said when asked what he meant about it being coordinated.
Griffin insinuated two weeks ago that he might ask for his release, but he wasn't addressing that topic Sunday.
"Go talk to the head man and go talk to personnel about that situation," Griffin said.
"I'm going to make the best decision I can for my family and myself, no question. But other than that, you all can go talk to the head man and personnel."
Griffin has undergone surgery on each of his anterior cruciate ligaments over the last two years and understandably hasn't been the same this year. However, the extent and speed of his descent has been a bit surprising, given he was a starter at the beginning of the season.
Last week, Griffin started the game but was benched in the first quarter after allowed a 57-yard touchdown to Lions receiver Titus Young after failing to jam him at the line of scrimmage. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier indicated that, despite Griffin's overtures of asking for his release, he would remain on the roster for at least this week.
"Yes, barring some unforeseen circumstance. I don't know what could not have him be a part of our fifty-three (man roster)," Frazier said.
"We will sit down with Cedric this week and see where he is and how he will fit for this next ball game that we have coming up on Saturday."
Safety Jamarca Sanford, who couldn't get to Young fast enough on that 57-yard touchdown against the Lions, said Griffin hasn't changed.
"He's still happy and he's still right there by my side. He's still a great leader," Sanford said.
"… That's something Cedric's got to deal with. I don't see no change. I still see he's communicating with me on the sideline, he's still giving me tips. He's still leading the team. He's still a leader. You've got to accept your role, whatever role that is."
Griffin has started 68 of 78 games played for the Vikings since he was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft. He has seven interceptions in his career, but none in the last two years, after playing only two games last year and 14 this year.
Benny Sapp was expected to start in Griffin's place Sunday, but was held on the sideline for the first two plays for disciplinary reasons, according to Frazier. Rookie Brandon Burton started, along with Marcus Sherels, in the nickel defense, but Sapp ended up replacing Burton.
When starter Asher Allen suffered a concussion later in the first quarter, Burton, Sapp and Sherels all ended up playing more.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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