>Griffin credits college coach for success
Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin credits his college secondary coach, Duane Akina (Texas Longhorns bio), for his success in making it in the NFL. Griffin had a troubled home life in high school and moved in with another family. It was Akina who reached out to Griffin when he was struggled to make grades as a freshman at the University of Texas. “I was going to flunk out of Texas my freshman year,” Griffin said in this Dallas Morning News story. “I was probably passing one class when Coach Akina pulled me aside. He didn't cuss me or anything. He talked to me like he knew I was going to be a role model one day.” On the wall in Akina’s meeting room for defensive backs, he has six players featured with a word describing the unique contribution each made with the Longhorns. Under the word “Effort” is a picture of Cedric Griffin. “Anyone can coach Michael Huff,” Akina said. “I may have made him a more physical player and made him more aware of the mental side of the game. But to me, I make my money on getting Ced Griffin to the NFL, because he's a tougher nut to break.”
>Robison brings unique special teams ability
Rookie defensive end Brian Robison has shown flashes of big-play ability in training camp so far, including tremendous speed around the corner as a pass rusher. But his unusual athleticism could also make him an asset on special teams, particularly as a possible kick blocker. At the combine workout before the draft, Robison outperformed No. 4 overall pick Gaines Adams in virtually every category, and his 40 ½ inch vertical jump could be a real asset for special teams coordinator Paul Ferraro on the kick-block unit. This photo from his college days with the Texas Longhorns gives you an idea.
>Bethel Johnson no lock to make it with Texans
Jerome Solomon, of the Houston Chronicle, reports Houston Texans WR Bethel Johnson (Texans bio) is no lock to make the team out of training camp. But in this News 8 Austin story, including a video clip, Johnson is glad to be back in Texas. Johnson (nfl.com) spent 11 games on the Vikings’ roster last season, officially starting two. He also averaged 23.4 on kickoff returns.
>Nattiel takes high school coaching job
Former Vikings linebacker Mike Nattiel (career stats) has taken a job as the linebackers coach for his uncle, former NFL receiver Ricky Nattiel at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida. Mike Nattiel was with the Vikings for two seasons (2003-04) before being release by the Vikings in the spring of 2005. The highlight play of Nattiel’s career with the Vikings was an 80-yard interception returned for a touchdown in 2003. He was originally a sixth-round pick by the Vikings in 2003.
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