After the Arizona first-team defense drove 93 yards for a touchdown on their first series, Griffen helped end their second drive as he tugged on the jersey of quarterback Carson Palmer when he released a third-down pass that was nearly intercepted with the help of Griffen’s redirecting grab.
“I’ve just got to keep on working on my pass-rush moves and keep on getting to the quarterback to help this team be successful,” Griffen said. “Different moves, just try to get back there and help this team.”
The first-year starter, who is replacing former Pro Bowler Jared Allen, did that often in the first half.
On Arizona’s third series, Griffen knocked down Drew Stanton as he released the ball on his first third-down attempt. That, too, fell incomplete.
After another Cardinals touchdown drive, it was Griffen disrupting Stanton on Arizona’s final drive of the half. Griffen took his rush wide and helped flush Stanton back into rookie Anthony Barr, who brought down the quarterback for the Vikings’ only sack of the game, one that also ended the half.
“I’ve got to go out there and use my moves and listen to my coaches and just play ball, have a high motor and win games,” Griffen said.
“We just play. (The coaches) let you play, let you go.”
Griffen ended up with only one tackle and no sacks, but he had a team-high three quarterback hits. But even when he wasn’t getting to the quarterback, he was flushing him out of the pocket. That was the case on the last drive of the half, when Anthony Barr got the Vikings’ only sack of the night on the last play of the first half.
“I’m trying to go out there and get every sack, but we’re a team and we’ve just got to keep on working to get better each and every down,” Griffen said.
Safety Shaun Prater left the game in the first quarter with a head injury and didn’t return. Head coach Mike Zimmer said it was a mild concussion.
Linebacker Gerald Hodges was taken to the locker room in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. He had a bag of ice on the left ankle after the game, but was walking without crutches, saying “I’m fine.”
Cornerback Jabari Price was injured on the last Vikings punt of the game when he was on coverage. He missed the initial tackle attempt and fell to the turf. He was holding his right arm low on the way to the locker room, but said after the game all the medical tests checked out and he was already feeling better after the game.
“I went down, basically trying to make a play,” he said. “Down on the field, at the heat of the moment, I panicked, but I’m all good now. Went back to the training room, got checked out. I’m all good now.”
He said his arm was tingling after the play.
“I’ve come in with two days before and started a football game,” he said, “so I think if I get through this preseason I should be in fairly good shape.”
Scott Grams contributed to this notebook. Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.