Griffin Getting More Time

Cedric Griffin

Rookie cornerback Cedric Griffin has been seeing more time in the Vikings defense, but he is used differently than Ronyell Whitaker in the nickel package. Plus, get notes on the Lions' connections with the Vikings.

The Vikings have been impressed enough by rookie cornerback Cedric Griffin that the second-round pick is now splitting time with Ronyell Whitaker in the nickel package.

Griffin and Whitaker rotated defensive series' last Sunday in Buffalo. While they are the additional defensive back when they play, the two are used in different roles.

Griffin lines up as the left corner and Antoine Winfield slides into the slot, but Whitaker plays in the slot, leaving Winfield and Fred Smoot at the corners.

"Part of it has to do with Cedric is a young guy and you want to make sure that he develops and get his feet wet in the professional game," defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin said. "He's played some special teams. But he's gotten better every week when he comes out in practice. He deserved the opportunity to play some. It's no knock against Ronyell, it's no hidden agenda. ... We're just playing people and we have to have more than 11 if we're going to be good."

NOTES

  • The last time the Lions beat the Vikings at the Metrodome came on Dec. 14, 1997, when they won 14-13.

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress was part of an NFL victory for the first time as an assistant with Indianapolis on Sept. 22, 1985 against Detroit. The Colts won 14-6 that day in their third game of the season.

  • Receiver Sammy White set the Vikings team record with 210 receiving yards against the Lions on Nov. 17, 1976 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.

  • Warren Moon tied for the second-longest pass in team history with an 85-yard touchdown to Qadry Ismail on Sept. 10, 1995 in a 20-10 victory over the Lions.

  • Vikings cornerback Ed Sharockman returned a Lions fumble 88 yards for a touchdown on Dec. 9, 1962. That record stood until 1998.

  • Quarterback Brad Johnson's 80-yard touchdown in a 21-16 victory over the Lions last December at Ford Field moved him into a tie with Fran Tarkenton and Joe Kapp for the most 80-plus yard passes in a career by a Vikings quarterback.

  • Receiver Marcus Robinson had career-highs in catches (11) and receiving yards (170) on Dec. 19, 1999 against Detroit when he was with Chicago.

  • Cornerback Darren Sharper had his first career interception when he picked off a Scott Mitchell pass against Detroit on Nov. 2, 1997 and returned it 50 yards for his first career touchdown. Sharper also tied his career high when he picked off two Charlie Batch passes against Detroit on Sept. 9, 2001. Those interceptions all came when Sharper was with the Green Bay Packers. Last season, his first with the Vikings, Sharper picked off a pass in a November victory over Detroit at the Metrodome.

  • Running back Artose Pinner was a fourth-round pick of the Lions in 2003 and played three seasons for Detroit before the Vikings picked him off the waiver wire right before the regular season.

  • Rick Spielman, the Vikings' vice president of player personnel, spent seven seasons with the Lions (1999-96) as a college and pro scout. His brother, Chris, was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Lions and second-round pick by the team in 1988.

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