Everson Griffen Replaces J.J. Watt at 2016 NFL Pro Bowl

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2016

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen will have some big shoes to fill in Hawaii. According to Fox Sports' Alex Marvez on Thursday, Griffen will replace Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 31. 

The Vikings congratulated Griffen on his first selection to the Pro Bowl:     

Watt, the NFL's sack leader in 2015 with 17.5, underwent successful sports hernia surgery on Tuesday, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. 

Along Minnesota's defensive line, Griffen recorded a team-leading 10.5 sacks, tied for 12th in the league along with 44 total tackles in one of the best seasons of his six-year career. Over the past two seasons, he's recorded 22.5 sacks.

He's been a force to be reckoned with among opposing offensive lines with moves like these, courtesy of Michael Duvernay:

Griffen was given NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 17 after a two-sack, six-tackle effort against the Green Bay Packers in a game that won the Vikings the NFC North division. It was the first time in his career he's received such an honor.

His performance has drawn praise from opposing teams, including from Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who coached Griffen at USC. Per Brian Murphy of TwinCities.com:

I think Everson has been a terrific football player. The fact that he's got double-digit sacks again and he's been such a force doesn't surprise me. He's certainly improved as a pro and shown terrific staying power. I'm really excited for him to see him do it. He's got a great spirit about him, and I know he adds a lot to that football team.

While there aren't going to be a whole lot of big hits or bone-crunching tackles in the game, the honor of being selected to the Pro Bowl is confirmation that Griffen is one of the best defensive ends to play the game right now. 

 

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.

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