Versatility Key to Griffin Selection

The Vikings have a lot of options with rookie defensive back Cedric Griffin, who could play right cornerback, left cornerback or move inside to safety, according to the Vikings brass.

There probably wasn't a team in the NFL that didn't have some chatter concerning the potential of taking a cornerback in the early rounds of the draft. Arguably the deepest position, 20 defensive backs were taken on the first day – seven in the first round, nine in the second round and five in the third round. But the Vikings had their eyes on one defensive back in particular.

When they targeted Cedric Griffin prior to the draft, they were looking for specific qualities that fit into Mike Tomlin's defensive plan. What does that require? Size, speed, strength and versatility. They looked for as many of those qualities as possible, but the Vikings believe they found all of those in Griffin.

"We had him rated a lot higher (than where he was taken) on our board," said Fran Foley, the vice president of player personnel. "We went with the value position. Flexibility as well. He was too good a player, we felt, to pass up."

Foley pointed to his durability – having played 51 college games in which he gained a great deal of experience that he will bring to the Vikings. But, experience and durability were just a couple of the selling points.

"Cedric is a very physical corner," said Scott Studwell, director of college scouting. "He's a corner that fits our new system as far as a Cover-2 team. We also felt he has the size, strength and mindset to move inside to safety if need be."

Griffin also passed the new Vikings morals policy, which checks deeper into players' background. Although Griffin had a run-in with police in 2003 for interrupting an emergency 911 phone call, the team checked out the matter and determined that it was an isolated incident that shouldn't penalize him.

"We checked out all these guys (we drafted in the first day)," Foley said. "We ran all the ‘traps,' as they say, on these guys with the league and other sources as well. We wouldn't take a player we thought was any way, shape or form a detriment to our program."

So what is the plan for Griffin? That depends on how quickly he picks up the Vikings' system. But, the Vikings have plenty of plans to throw his way, whether it means playing his natural position, moving to the other side or a move inside to safety.

"He played right corner at Texas," Studwell said. "We will probably try him at left corner a little bit to see where he is at with that. We like the flexibility with him."

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