EAGAN, Minn. -- In Minnesota Vikings history, several top defensive linemen have played a lot of years. Jim Marshall lasted 20 NFL seasons, Carl Eller 16 and Chris Doleman 15.
Everson Griffen, 31, wouldn’t mind joining the longevity club.
“I feel great,’’ Griffen said Thursday, Sept. 19. “My body feels great. …. I feel I’m going to retire in three or four years. I don’t know when, maybe six. I feel that good.’’
Griffen is in his 10th season, so six more would equal the longevity of Eller, a hall of famer who played in the NFL from 1964-79. But asked if wants to play as long as Marshall, who was in the league from 1960-79, Griffen shot that down.
“No,’’ he said.
The way the defensive end is looking now, he could last a while longer. According to Pro Football Focus, Griffen is tied with Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter and Green Bay linebacker Za’Darius Smith for the NFL lead with 15 quarterback pressures. He had an impressive 11 against the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers in a 21-16 loss Sunday.
Griffen made three straight Pro Bowls before last season, when he missed five games because of a mental health issue. His play was just so-so when he returned, but Griffen has gotten back to form this season.
“I feel back to myself, but I just have to keep it up,’’ Griffen said.
Griffen’s five-game absence began last September after the first two weeks of the season. With the Vikings entering their third game Sunday against Oakland at U.S. Bank Stadium, head coach Mike Zimmer looked back at how far Griffen has come in the past year.
“It was really tough,’’ Zimmer said. “Everson’s really a great person. He cares about the team a lot. He cares about his teammates. He cares about the franchise. And he’s one of the hardest working guys we’ve got. From the day he walked in here, he’s been all in.
“It was disappointing for everybody that that happened, but we wanted to make sure that we stuck by him, gave him as much support and help as we possibly could, and he did all the work.’’
Linebacker Anthony Barr was frustrated by missing three games last season, and Zimmer isn’t expecting him to sit out one Sunday.
Barr missed practice Thursday because of a groin injury after being limited in Wednesday’s workout. Asked after the practice if Barr could be out for the game against Oakland at U.S. Bank Stadium, Zimmer said, “I doubt it.”
Also not practicing was cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who suffered a dislocated elbow Sept. 8 against Atlanta and sat out last Sunday’s 21-16 loss at Green Bay. He could be replaced as the primary nickel back for a second straight by safety Jayron Kearse.
The Vikings on Thursday did get back linebacker Ben Gedeon for practice on a limited basis. Gedeon missed the Green Bay game with a groin injury and sat out Wednesday’s workout.
Also limited in practice were Pat Elflein (knee), who missed the Green Bay game, defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) and linebacker Kentrell Brothers (wrist, hamstring). Kearse (hip) was a full participant after being limited Wednesday.
The Vikings could get a boost at cornerback Sunday with the return of cornerback Mike Hughes, who has been a full participant in practice. He hasn’t played since suffering a torn ACL and other ligament damage in Week 6 last year as a rookie.
Zimmer said Thursday that doctors “probably” will inform the Vikings on Friday if Hughes will be able to play against the Raiders.
“I can’t make the decision for Mike,” Zimmer said. “I can’t make the decision for the doctor.’’
It’s not easy to start at center as an NFL rookie, and Garrett Bradbury is finding that out.
Through two weeks, Bradbury is ranked 32nd and last among NFL centers by Pro Football Focus. A major issue has been pass protection.
“I think the first two ballgames for any young center, any young player, you’re going to have some plays that you want back,’’ said offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. “But we can point out a few plays where again, he’s working on his technique, but there’s other plays where he doesn’t look like a rookie.
“I’ve been really pleased with where Garrett is, and certainly there is room for growth. That’s why he’s working really hard out here (in practice).’’
Bradbury took over at center for Pat Elflein, who moved to left guard after two years as the starting center. Elflein was Pro Football Focus’ lowest-rated center in 2018.
Dan Bailey missed a pair of long kicks against the Packers, but special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf said there’s nothing to be alarmed about.
Bailey was wide left on a 47-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter.
“It was just a quick fix, just over-rotated a little bit,’’ Maalouf said.
In the second quarter, Bailey had an extra point blocked. The attempt was from 48 yards following a penalty.
“Little bit of technique on our blocking. … I don’t like kicking 48-yard extra points,’’ Maalouf said. “That makes a difference.’’