By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Last year, Everson Griffen got a new contract with the Vikings, giving him a starting spot on the team with the departure of linebacker Jared Allen.

This season, Griffen want to emerge as “the man.”

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At training camp in Mankato, he established himself as the starter – a big play man who can put the Vikings’ defense on his shoulders.

“I decided to lead by example,” he said. “Just do my job, and be a team guy and carry the guys on.”

On the field, Griffen is a high-energy presence.

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“He’s like a brother to me,” said his teammate Sharrif Floyd, who said Griffen likes to joke around. “We’re just out here being ourselves, having a great time.”

In practice, Griffen goes up against his friend from the University of Southern California, tackle Matt Kalil.

“I’ve been on Kalil now going on 10 years,” Griffen said.

When asked if he’s thinking about the Pro Bowl, Griffen said he’s just doing his job for now.

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“Helping this team win,” he said. “That’s what I’m thinking about.”

Mike Max