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singersp
08-11-2006, 12:57 PM
Published August 11, 2006 01:05 am

There may have been better guys at diagnosing a play, there may have been others who were more polished at man-on-man coverage, but when the Minnesota Vikings selected Cedric Griffin from the University of Texas in the second round of April’s NFL draft, that’s not what they were looking for.

The hit man
Coaches like what they see in physical rookie CB Cedric Griffin

By Jim Rueda
The Free Press

MANKATO —
There may have been better guys at diagnosing a play, there may have been others who were more polished at man-on-man coverage, but when the Minnesota Vikings selected Cedric Griffin from the University of Texas in the second round of April’s NFL draft, that’s not what they were looking for.

They wanted a guy who could hit and flat out tackle, and that’s why they selected the 6-foot, 203-pound Griffin.

“We talk about creating a frenzy schematically in this defense, with big men running and little guys hitting,” defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin said. “Those are the things that attracted us to Cedric Griffin. (At his position he was) arguably the most physical (player) in the draft.”

After a handful of minicamps and two weeks of training camp, Tomlin, head coach Brad Childress and the rest of the coaching staff have liked what they’ve seen from the cornerback. They’ve singled him out a few times after practice for his hard hits and overall progress.

“It makes you feel good when the coaches give you praise but, at the same time, you have to look past that because you really haven’t proven yourself in any area,” Griffin said this week. “I’m still working. I still have a long way to go.”

Griffin, the 48th overall pick in the draft, not only carries a reputation as a fierce hitter, but also as player with durability. He started 38 straight games at Texas over the final three seasons of his college career. In his final game, the Longhorns upset USC to win the national championship.

He was a member of a Texas defense that was ranked in the top 10 three times during his four-year collegiate career. Griffin played in three bowl games, finishing his career with 275 tackles, 32 pass break-ups and three interceptions.

Although he’s been a professional for only a few months, Griffin knows his college stats are already irrelevant. He realizes the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately enterprise.

“This is a whole different level here,” he said. “Hopefully the coaches can prepare me and I can learn the proper way to play in the NFL. I’m ready to take the next step.”

Like many of the younger players, Griffin says his biggest challenge in training camp is to minimize his errors. Physically he believes he’s keeping up all right but, as far as feeling completely comfortable in the team’s defensive scheme, he still has a long way to go.

“I’m working on cutting down my mental mistakes,” he said. “We’re lining up in formations and seeing what the offense is running so we can learn to make better keys. We’re also working on our footwork so we can get better on that transition stuff.”

Special teams coach Paul Ferraro says Griffin has also looked good on kick and punt coverage but cautions that there’s a big difference between doing it in practice and doing it in a game.

“The hard thing for us as coaches in the preseason is that we don’t have many live situations,” Ferraro said. “Guys can look great running down the field, but it’s all going to come down to Monday night when (rookies like Griffin) have to take on a live blocker, take on a live ball carrier and make something happen. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the younger guys get after it.”

Whether it’s special teams or working out behind Antoine Winfield as the No. 2 cornerback on the left side, Griffin says he’s taking nothing for granted.

“I treat it like I don’t have a roster spot and I have to compete every day because no spot is guaranteed in the NFL,” he said. “You have to come out every day and compete with the next guy.”

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The hit man (http://www.mankatofreepress.com/vikingsCamp/local_story_223010544.html)

vikeswin2005
08-11-2006, 01:03 PM
I am so pumped to see this dude in action

oakmage
08-11-2006, 02:33 PM
How many days until Monday? It doesn't matter because it is still to long until Monday, of course who would of thought that it was a good idea to look forward to a Monday before?

wordsofwisejcb
08-11-2006, 03:17 PM
I've been lovin' this pick since draft day, and the more I hear about / from him I'm lovin' it even more. I like his style, but I think I like his humble attitude more. Very excited to see him on the field. I believe he will be a very good, if not great, pro for years to come.

JDante
08-11-2006, 03:46 PM
Cedric Griffin gets to learn from the best in the biz, Antoine Winfield, the finer points of knockin the F##K outta the opponent. No tellin how good he can be.

Json
08-11-2006, 04:29 PM
I can't wait for Monday. ESPN...Vikings play, man oh man life is getting good again!

TARKenton
08-11-2006, 04:45 PM
One of dem Texas boys!

Mr. Purple
08-11-2006, 05:13 PM
I really think hes gonna get that nickle spot sooner then later, hes transending into the NFL quite well.Hes the perfect Cover 2 CB IMO.

cajunvike
08-11-2006, 05:29 PM
"TARKenton" wrote:

One of dem Texas boys!

Texas SUCKS!!!!

cajunvike
08-11-2006, 05:34 PM
Offord had the same type of hype when we picked him as well...I hope one of those two guys lives up to it...or maybe even both of them!!!

vike_mike
08-11-2006, 06:01 PM
Let's see what he can do Monday. There has been a lot of hype about players having good Camps. Noone is going to say that they look bad. We will see monday. I hope he turns out to knock snot out of people.