EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — The only real adjustment the Minnesota Vikings defense has had to make is the loss of Everson Griffen for at least the near future.

Enter Stephen Weatherly, who as WCCO’s Mike Max reports, credits part of his emergence to Everson Griffen.

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It’s another day of practice, and that’s important because it is where Stephen Weatherly proves himself.

“Yeah it’s definitely step by step, especially with the journey I took. You’ve just got to come out and find something to work on every day. That’s something I’ve really been focusing on, whether it’s in the run game or the pass rush. Just understanding what I need to do to be a functional part of coach Zimmer’s defense,” Weatherly said.

The irony is one of the people that helped the most to get him here is not here right now. Everson Griffen plays this position, and he helped pave the way.

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“Most definitely. His locker is right next to mine, things like that,” Weatherly said. “Now it’s Danielle Hunter. We’re built the same so it shows me a lot of things I can do with my body when it comes to the run game and the pass game.”

For Weatherly, it’s about mastering skill. Then freeing the mind to just play instinctively.

“When he first came here, the first little bit, he was a guy that would stop his feet on the rush, kind of measure. Now he’s just rushing and using his athletic abilities,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

And that’s what is starting to take shape, that he’s relying on what he has become by making sure he becomes more every day.

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“No-one really coddles or babies him, but everyone is just like ‘Hey we see it in you, you’ve got to see it in yourself and what you’ve got to do now is prove it to everyone else.’ So that’s been the mindset moving forward. Everyone has been in my corner and that only helps,” Weatherly said.

Mike Max