Bob Sansevere, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist, has disappointed me the last few years. Probably not as badly as I've disappointed my parents over the years, but he has. I don't live in the Twin Cities anymore, so maybe he's focusing more on a radio show or something, but he's really tapered off on his columns, and I used to really enjoy them. They were insightful, made me think, and elicited a reaction...which is what we like to call a Writer's Trifecta. But over the last few years, his writing has really tailed off, to a point that it's no longer a must read for me.
But I have to tell you, Bob Sansevere hit one so far out of the park, I think Roy Hobbs was actually at the plate. It seems crazy, nuts, odd, even mad...but the more I think about it, the more I like it.
Crazy, no? No. Let's see if we can make you a believer, after the jump.
Now, in Sansevere's defense, he admitted that it was probably folly, and he was much better suited as a linebacker or DE (and at the end of the day, I agree with him), but made kind of a compelling case for an outside the box move like this would be.
Everson Griffen was one of the few young players on the roster that made me sit up and say 'wow' more than once this year. He was a solid backup behind Brian Robison at LDE, and at times he outperformed him. They also experimented with him at linebacker, and I thought he showed some potential there.
He also has the speed and ability to play the thankless gunner position on punt returns, which requires a fast guy to speed down the sidelines, fight off a double team, and keep the returner from getting outside and preventing a potentially big return.
I mean, think about this for a second. A guy with the speed to play safety, but the size to play defensive end. It seems completely ludicrous, but consider--in the early 1990's, 300 pound linemen were an oddity, now they are the norm. In the 1980's, guys the size of Daunte Culpepper were defensive tackles, by 2000 they were starting QB's in the NFL. So if we're talking NFL evolution, it's just a matter of time before 270 pound defensive backs are the norm.
But here's why I don't think it's as nuts as Sansevere essentially concedes. Griffen is fast, and as a linebacker, if the Vikings were to move him there, coverage skills are a requirement in today's NFL. Does he have hands? I doubt it, but that's not really been a requirement for a defensive back in these parts, so that shouldn't be a disqualifier on this team. Could you teach him basic coverage skills? Sure, why not. He's not going to be required to play bump and run coverage as a safety; as a cover 2 guy it's mostly over the top stuff.
With his speed, he'd be effective as a defensive back on a blitz; it would be like having an extra lineman on a pass rush situation. And can you imagine the absolute fear he would put into receivers coming across the middle? Oh. My. God. He can absolutely bring the wood, and opponents would think twice about going for the ball.
Yes, I know moving to Griffen to safety has about a 0.0000000000001% chance of happening. And yes, I know that he will be best utilized as either a linebacker or super sub d-lineman.
But if Brock Lesnar can get a tryout at defensive tackle, I don't see why we couldn't see what Griffen could do at safety.