Minnesota Vikings: A Position Change for Everson Griffen May Be in Order in 2012

Nick McAndrewsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 12, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 25:   Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings looks at a referee after making a sack on  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Yesterday I read an article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press in which writer Bob Sansevere suggested backup defensive end Everson Griffen should be moved to safety for the Minnesota Vikings in 2012.

While I will admit I salivated a little bit over the prospect of a 270-pound safety crushing opposing receivers, it's pretty preposterous to actually consider moving Griffen to safety. That doesn't mean, however, that a position change couldn't be in order for the young lineman.

Coming off the bench in 2011, Griffen totaled 21 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two passes defended. Given that the Vikings are pretty well off at defensive end—with Jared Allen having the season he had and Brian Robison adding eight sacks of his own—Griffen probably won't find his way into a starting position any time soon.

At linebacker, on the other hand, the Vikings may lose brothers and starters E.J. and Erin Henderson to free agency this offseason. Because they could be so thin at linebacker, Griffen could find himself in a position to start at outside linebacker—if he were to trim off a few pounds.

Chad Greenway—who is statistically the best linebacker on the team—sits at 6'2" and 242 pounds, according to ESPN.com. Meanwhile, at only one inch taller, Griffen outweighs Greenway at 273 pounds. I'm not suggesting Griffen has to lose 30 pounds, but if he were to trim up a bit, he could have comparable size—and certainly potential—to Greenway.

Griffen's current size has him at just about the perfect size to play OLB in a 3-4-base defense, but does he really have the coverage skills to play in a 4-3 system? I think so.

Everson Griffen has far too much talent and potential to continue backing up Allen and Robison on the defensive line. The way he flies all over the field and his ability to make big plays while only receiving limited playing should get him on the field more.

At linebacker, he would find himself in a position to receive much more playing time and possibly even a starting role.

Bob Sansevere's suggestion of Griffen moving to safety may be far-fetched, but I don't think it would be in a switch to linebacker.

What do you think?