Underrated: Everson Griffen
Griffen is the Vikings’ best player on defense. When you turn on the tape, this guy jumps off the screen. He is sudden and has speed to the corner on the edge. He’ll creep up and disrupt something in the backfield. When our coordinators are gameplanning, Griffen is the guy they are talking about. We have to give our left tackle a little help.
Overrated: Trae Waynes
Everybody is looking for these taller corners now—Waynes was the 11th pick last year. He played on a good team at Michigan State that had a good pass rush and it seems like he benefited from that. Last year, Waynes was underwhelming by every single standard you can imagine—he couldn’t take that job from Terence Newman, he couldn’t be the nickel or the fourth corner, and then he didn’t play a whole lot of special teams because he’s a thin, skinny guy. Now, coming into this year, he’s behind on the depth chart again. In college he was really handsy. He hasn’t left that behind. He’s real quick to tug and grab receivers. The book’s not yet written on him, but to this point he’s been quite underwhelming.
The big story here is Teddy Bridgewater’s brutal season-ending injury. It’s tough. The Vikings have a really strong roster and are deep at a number of positions but the substantial knee injury to Bridgewater obviously changes things. Minnesota clearly sees something in Sam Bradford, as it gave up a first-round pick (and a conditional fourth) for the QB. Perhaps Bradford will finally have a big year, but even if he struggles again, the Vikings’ defense will keep them in games. If you think about it, they haven’t really had good quarterback play since Brett Favre was there. When you have the best running back in football on the roster, and a defense with depth up and down the lineup, and a defensive mind like Mike Zimmer, they are still going to be a tough out.