Everson Griffen absorbing John Randle’s knowledge

Everson Griffen is an eager student when it comes to learning pass-rush moves from Hall of Fame defensive lineman John Randle.

Some of the best defensive linemen in Minnesota Vikings history, John Randle and Henry Thomas among them, like what they see from the current group of defensive linemen.

Randle attended a recent organized team activity and took time during breaks and after practice to meet, greet and even instruct some of defensive linemen.

“He showed me a couple of moves. It’s a good guy to learn from, to get wisdom from, to know what he was thinking out there about playing,” defensive end Everson Griffen said. “He’s a Hall of Famer, one of the best defensive ends/defensive tackles to ever play this game. Just to be able to have his wisdom and be able to take leadership from him and have him teaching us different type of stuff, it really goes a long way. We love having him at practice and hopefully we can get him out here more so we can just keep on building on that.”

Randle lives in the Twin Cities and is an occasional visitor to Winter Park, and it’s clear he naturally garners the respect of the current crop of defensive linemen. The ones that have been around for a few years (or more) spot Randle and approach for a hug and a handshake, and occasional advice.

Griffen is perhaps the player that could benefit most from Randle. Both have stocky, muscular builds, are lightning quick with their moves and both have seemingly limitless energy.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1676750-injuries-benefiting-young...  “There are a lot of similarities. John Randle, he was a great player. He had a motor that was untouched and that’s what I’m trying to get to,” Griffen said. “I’m in my prime right now and I feel like I could play many years with the Minnesota Vikings. That’s my goal, to retire a Viking. My biggest thing right now is to be able to become a master of my craft and just help my team win and take my game to the next level and not stay in the same place.”

Randle played 14 years in the NFL, 11 of them with the Vikings before joining the Seattle Seahawks for his final three seasons. He started as an undrafted project that quickly gained the attention of coaches with his quickness, turning his undrafted status into a Hall of Fame career.

He finished his career with 137½ sacks (the most by a player whose primary position was defensive tackle) and nine times reach double-digit sacks in a single season, including his high-water mark of 15½ sacks in 1997. That was in his eighth season in the NFL.

Griffen has played six seasons and reached double digits in sacks the last two years, with 12 in 2014 and 10½ last year, so he might just reaching the prime of his career, as he indicated.

Still, he would like to take his game up another level.

“Just to be the king of sacks, try to be No. 1 in sacks, top two in sacks,” he said. “It’s going to come with hard work and dedication and, when you don’t want to do it, doing it day in and day out to get where you want to go.”


Randle’s occasional advice to Griffen, especially when it comes to technique, could help, and Griffen is all ears and eyes during the short, instructive sessions. The advice ranges from general pass-rush technique to some specifics.

“Fake spin. Spinning from inside out, different stuff that he did that he mastered to become great,” Griffen said. “He wasn’t out there and he showed us a move and he looked like he never missed a beat with it. I feel like he could go out there and play a couple downs, but he wouldn’t. It was awesome to have him in.

“He’s a real outgoing guy, a good-hearted guy and we just want him to come back to help us out, just to help out so we can play better on the field.”


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