From the moment that the Vikings removed the transition free agent tag from cornerback Brian Williams, it was clear that at some point on draft day they were going to be searching for someone to replace him.
The good news for the Vikings was that the Class of 2006 at the cornerback position was exceptionally deep and, even after seeing seven cornerbacks go off the board prior to their first pick in the second round, there were still viable options available, including first-round prospects like Ohio State's Ashton Youboty and Fresno State's Richard Marshall.
But the Vikings had a specific player in mind who would best fit their defensive system – hard hitting Texas CB Cedric Griffin. Fresh off a national title win in January, Griffin brings his aggressive style to a Vikings defense that already includes one of the game's best tackling cornerbacks in Antoine Winfield. Griffin is a live wire who is willing to take on any role that they offer him.
"I definitely think the fans are going to see a lot of emotion out me – an aggressive style of play," Griffin said. "I'm going to bring some leadership to the team. I understand they do have leadership (on the Vikings), but I definitely think I bring a winning attitude."
What he also brings is what has become a buzz-phrase around Winter Park since the new coaching staff was assembled – position flexibility. Having played right cornerback at Texas, the Vikings are going to give him a shot at left corner to start, but many scouts project that with his size and strength, he will be a player who could easily adapt to playing safety. As far as Griffin is concerned, he just wants a chance to play – regardless of where it is at.
"I would rather play corner, but if it's safety or the dime or the nickel, it doesn't really matter to me as long as I get the opportunity to go out there and try to win a position," Griffin said. "I'm just excited right now."
Selecting players from successful programs has been a recent hallmark of the Vikings, who have taken five players from college national champions in the last five drafts – Bryant McKinnie (2002), Kenechi Udeze (2004), Darrion Scott (2004), Dustin Fox (2005) and Griffin.
He hopes to bring that winning attitude to his new role with the Vikings, which likely early on will be primarily on special teams – where he earned rave reviews in college. With his own championship experience, he wants that to translate to his new role with the Vikings.
"I'm full of confidence right now coming off of a national championship," Griffin said. "I believe bringing that into the NFL will elevate my game. I have a lot of pride right now, so I'm going to bring that into the NFL and hopefully, it will transfer into my game with the Vikings.
Griffin Comes From Winning Tradition
Viking Update Top Stories
Harris sees maturation in his gameMinnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith isn't expected to play Sunday, so for the second straight year backup Anthony Harris finds himself front and center before a critical late…
Viking Update2:12 PM
VIDEO: Priefer seeks better playMinnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer talks about a homecoming to Jacksonville and his desire to see better play from his special teams.
Viking Update12:45 PM
VIDEO: Shurmur on Jaguars, the playbook, moreMinnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur talks about the Jacksonville defense, the latest setback at center and working through tough times on offense.
Viking Update12:16 PM
Smith misses again; stage set for Harris?As Harrison Smith missed his third practice this week with an ankle injury, it appears safety Anthony Harris could be getting the third start of his career.
Viking Update9:40 AM