Early in the offseason, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Scott Crichton appeared to be leaps and bounds ahead of where he had previously been a year ago. At the end of the 2014 season he was very disappointed with his rookie season and didn’t get a chance to see the field very often.
Crichton had seemed to turn everything around, with head coach Mike Zimmer and defensive coordinator George Edwards saying what a good job he had been doing. Then training camp came along and Crichton injured his ankle, causing him to miss a lot of time, both in practice and in the team’s first two preseason games.
“It’s hard missing any time,” the defensive end said. “Missing two weeks straight, it hurt me but you just have to come back strong.”
He did. Zimmer was pleased with the game that Crichton had and extra happy to see that the ankle did not seem to be bothering him at all.
“He actually did pretty good,” Zimmer said. “He played inside a little bit, played outside some. The ankle didn’t show any big hindrance throughout the game, so it was probably a good performance for Crichton.”
Crichton is big on playing with his teammates and that was one reason why sitting out for most of last year was so hard for him. He wants to be in on every play, playing alongside his teammates and contributing to a win.
That is why Saturday’s game was so important for him. He was finally able to get out and play in a game with his teammates again, and that was one of the best feelings he could have experienced.
“It felt good, man, just getting back with my teammates – that was the best part,” Crichton said. “A little tired, though, first game back, but it’s an unbelievable feeling when I’m playing with my teammates.”
Players will always talk about the difference between being in shape and being in game shape. At 6-foot-3, 273 pounds, Crichton missing all that time has hurt his conditioning. He is not used to competing against another individual play in and play out and he admits that it will take some time to get used to again, but it doesn’t sound like he is very worried about it and expects to be ready by Saturday when the team heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys.
“Probably pretty soon,” Crichton said when asked when his conditioning will be back. “I just have to stay healthy. That was a big thing, stay healthy and just keep getting better and better each day.”
Because of the physical nature of the game, Crichton knows that he will never be 100 percent for the remainder of the year. He said that the only time any player will feel 100 percent is the start of the offseason, but the trick now is to keep the bumps and bruises to a minimum.
He knows he need to stay healthy enough to be on the field every day for practice so he can continue to get better, because, well, he still has a lot to improve.
“Everything. Everything in my position. You can never settle down and just stop working on your craft,” Crichton said. “You can never master it, so you’ve just got to keep working.”
Crichton on missing 2 weeks: ‘It hurt me’
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