Griffen: Individual coaching a strength
Everson Griffen was one of several defensive linemen that found success during the Minnesota’s 2014 season. Before the season started, he had never had a chance to start on a full-time basis and was mostly used a rotational player so everyone was a little surprised when the Vikings chose to sign him to a big contract. But he came out and proved that he deserved the contract and had one of the better seasons among defensive ends in the NFL.
At 6-foot-3, 273 pounds, Griffen has great size to play the defensive end position, and he is able to match that size with speed and athleticism. That is a lethal combination to have, but he doesn’t credit his natural ability to all of his success. He said that a lot of it is because of the coaching staff that the Vikings have.
“(Mike Zimmer) is going to be there coaching you up from step by step and that’s what makes this team different from a lot of teams – we’ve got coaches out there hands-on,” Griffen said. “I’ve only been on one team so I don’t know how other teams are. Coach Zimmer, he’s the best I’ve been around. He’s hands-on, coach Andre Patterson is hands-on, everybody’s hands-on and it helps your team and really helps you get the feel of where you need to be exactly on the field to be in the right position to make the play.
“It’s the best coaching staff I’ve seen put together in my six years of being in the National Football League. Right now I can legitimately say that and we have some great coaches here. They take pride in their job, they take pride in what they love to do, and you’re going to see it tremendously when we step out on that field. So it’s up to us to go out and execute and it’s up to the coaches to coach us.”
There are a lot of young and talented players along the Vikings’ defensive line and they all play the game a different way. But Griffen said that Patterson is able to work with each player and utilize their individual strength instead of trying to coach players the same way.
He believes that is a big reason why so many players on the defensive line were able to have success last year and why they will be able to this year. Instead of treating all the players the same, the coaches want to highlight each of their individual talents.
“The thing about our coach is he coaches everybody differently,” Griffen said. “He don’t coach everybody the same. He coaches each and every person differently because my name’s Everson, his name’s Sharrif (Floyd), we got Linval (Joseph), we got B-Rob (Brian Robison), I could go on and on. I’m totally different from B-Rob, B-Rob is totally different from me, so he coaches each person differently on the D-line and that’s what makes each and every one of us better because he coaches everyone differently because we all have different techniques and skills. And he utilizes them by having us work with them after or just doing different things that help us get better that wouldn’t help the other person get better. He focuses on each individual skill to help the person get better.”
From what the team has been able to do in practice thus far, Griffen believes they have a chance to have a special season. Of course, a lot of things need to go correctly for that to happen, but with the way they are working right now he thinks they are going to be a tough team to beat.
“I feel that if we keep doing what we’re doing right now and come out every single day and put our best foot forward we’re going to be a hard team to beat,” he said. “And I’m not saying we’re going to go out and beat every team, but we will be a hard team to beat if we keep working the way we’re working.”
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