Crichton: Last year was ‘eye-opening’

Scott Crichton’s rookie season didn’t live up to anyone’s expectations, but he is out to change that as he expects to make his 2015 preseason debut Saturday night.

Scott Crichton came into the NFL hoping to support his parents who supported him through the trials that life presented his family.

His father and mother, Lucky and Malama, came to the United States from Western Samao. Malama worked two jobs as a nurse and his father worked in a warehouse despite having a leg removed due to medical issues.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Crichton in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he barely played as a rookie, registering just 16 defensive snaps.

“No playing time. I took that personal,” Crichton said this week as he prepared to make his preseason debut after sitting out the first two preseason games with an ankle injury. “I’ve just got to work harder because last season really focused on just getting everything better – technique from strength to just the whole game. I think I’m climbing up there, but we’ll see.”

Crichton practiced this week and says he’s “all good” to play Saturday night against the Oakland Raiders. He’s looking to prove he belongs on the field more this season as part of a defensive line rotation. He is mainly a left end backing up Brian Robison, but head coach Mike Zimmer said Crichton offers some flexibility to play inside at defensive tackle, where the Vikings are short a rotational player with nose tackle Shamar Stephen recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

“My position coach (Andre Patterson) told me just to work on the strength thing so I’ve been working on that,” Crichton said. “Just the overall game had to be better. This offseason was critical for me.”

Crichton was active for only eight games last season and Zimmer said he and David Yankey, another rookie that didn’t play at all last year, needed to work on their strength.

So, naturally, that’s what Crichton focused on during his offseason workouts in San Diego and Seattle.

“Just worked on the strength all the time. That was the thing right there,” Crichton said. “I just worked on everything, whatever the trainer had me do, but I told him specifically that strength was the number one priority.”

He worked on both upper body and lower body strength and hopes it pays off in the remaining three preseason games. He certainly doesn’t want a repeat of last year.

“It was eye-opening,” he said. “I just took it upon myself to be better. I’m trying to stay in the league. Getting here is one thing, but staying in the league is a different thing. I tried to take advantage of the offseason, get healthy first and then just grind.

“… I got barely any PT (playing time) so I just had to change that this year. I just want to get on the field. The big thing is I just want to contribute to the team because I know we can do something special.”

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