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Black and Blue all over: Griffin's improvement

Posted by ESPN.com's' Kevin Seifert
One of the favorite whipping boys of Minnesota fans, and occasionally this blog, finally got his first interception of the season Sunday at Arizona. That play, combined with an apparent evening out of his overall play, drew some high praise this week from normally-conservative coach Brad Childress.

Asked about cornerback Cedric Griffin, Childress said:

"I've just seen continual growth from Cedric. I think he's an "A" competitor, first of all, and he's turning into an "A" technician. He has long arms. He can put his hands on you and jam you. He can get up in your grill and deviate you at the line of scrimmage, which is important with those wide receivers that can really run. I think he's paying attention to detail. While some [reporters] may have perceived him as a liability, I think he's become a strong football player. I know he wishes he would have caught a couple more balls, but the point is he's in position to make plays. He's playing at a very good level right now."

Opponents naturally throw more toward Griffin than fellow cornerback Antoine Winfield. But earlier this season, they were rewarded handsomely for picking on Griffin -- a player who seemingly never met a 5-yard cushion that didn't deserve another 3 yards tacked on.

But cornerback can be a tough position to judge from the outside. In the Vikings' scheme, Griffin at times has been asked to keep the ball in front of him at all costs -- hence the cushion. Whether he is simply trying to pump up Griffin with public praise, Childress' strong comments were notable and spurred Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune to delve deeper into Griffin's season.

For us, we'll continue our jaunt around the division: