Notebook: Griffin committed to comeback

Cedric Griffin is determined in his comeback from a torn ACL and insists some of the safeguards in place by the medical staff are just precautionary. Plus, get notes from Monday's first practice back at Winter Park.

Every step seems to be a little longer, a little more explosive and show a little more range.

Cedric Griffin is getting closer to returning with each passing week as he increases his range and his activities following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, an injury suffered in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 24.

"For sure progress has definitely been made since training camp," Griffin said before the Vikings broke training camp last week. "The training staff is doing a great job with me so far. I'm just happy with my progress. I'm happy I'm going out there doing my drills and just kind of participating on my own a little bit, so it's great."

Griffin was back to working out the knee again on Monday after practice, this time at Winter Park. Last week, he was cutting around cones and running straight-line sprints. On Monday he was doing a form of leg kicks with his knee bent.

For Griffin, the extended recovery process is all new.

"I've never been hurt like this before. I've never missed a game in any of my years – pee-wee, high school, middle school," he said, although he did miss the final regular-season game of his rookie year (2006) with a neck injury. "My frustration level is nowhere. I'm happy with my situation. I'm playing it safe and the trainers are playing it safe. When I'm ready to go out there and play, I'll go out there and perform for them."

Griffin has been working on cutting drills with a brace on his knee, but when it comes to straight-line conditioning the brace comes off. He said at the start of training camp he wanted to stay off the list he still finds himself on – the physically unable to perform (PUP) designation – and now he says the brace is also the decision of the medical staff.

"My opinion, no, I don't feel it's necessary to have it on there. It's precaution for the training staff, for them to feel good," Griffin said. "Obviously I can cut without my brace. I've done it before. It's just a cautionary thing. I'm going to play it safely until they tell me I can go full speed.

"I'm not going to play with the brace on. It's just something, I guess, to get their confidence going and get my confidence going. I'm fine without it or with it. But when it's time, when the bright lights come on, it will be off."

Griffin said he wanted to be practicing at the start of camp. That didn't happen. But his goal remains to make it back this season, and that appears to be a realistic plan that could be in the near future.

"He is coming along rapidly, to the point where you have to weigh do you take him off the PUP list so that he can get into individuals because he can't do that right now because he is on the PUP," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "You see him working with (defensive backs) coach Joe Woods after practice, which is what the rule allows. So yeah he is coming pretty quickly; kind of chomping at the bit."

For his part, Griffin is willing to listen to the trainers, but he's pushing for a quick return.

"I feel like I can go, yes I do. It's not even been seven months yet," he said. "I don't know how the ACL heals properly, but the doctors and the trainers do so I'm going to let them tell me what to do."

MONDAY P.M. PRACTICE NOTES

  • WR Jaymar Johnson didn't practice Monday and appeared to have the thumb on his left hand taped.

  • In addition to Griffin, WR Sidney Rice remains on the PUP list.

  • Center John Sullivan (calf) was also held out of practice. He didn't play in Saturday's game. With Sullivan out, Jon Cooper continued to snap with the first team and Ryan Cook was the second-team center.

  • WR Percy Harvin didn't talk to the media on Monday upon his return to practice, but he is expected to be available later this week. He took part in all portions of Monday's practice and got the initial rep opposite Bernard Berrian with the first-team offense.

  • TE Visanthe Shiancoe didn't play in Saturday's game, but he was practicing Monday.

  • Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams, who started the game at safety for the Vikings, continued to work as the first-team safeties. Jamarca Sanford has been rotating with Johnson during most practices.

  • Lito Sheppard and Asher Allen rotated at right cornerback with the first-team defense.

  • After bending his knee awkwardly while trying to adjust to a tipped pass Saturday night, WR Greg Lewis was practicing without apparent restrictions Monday.

  • Sheppard made an interception on a pass intended for WR Logan Payne, but Monday's practice didn't feature much of anything going full speed. However, when Sheppard stopped returning it at the line of scrimmage, his defensive teammates encouraged him to continue on with the return.

  • Childress said the team will go full pads for Tuesday's practice.

  • Ray Small, Marcus Sherels, Lewis and Harvin all worked as punt returners.

  • Childress said the starters will get about one quarter of work on Sunday. They got only one series against St. Louis.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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