Frazier says Cedric Griffin won't play opener, but cornerback not convinced
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On Monday, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier provided the strongest sign yet that Griffin will fall somewhere short of that miracle.
Asked a general question after Monday's morning practice about returning all 22 staters, Frazier said, "Well, we're going to be missing one guy in that first game -- Cedric Griffin won't be participating. He was a big part of our success a year ago."
Griffin, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the NFC championship game Jan. 24 at New Orleans, always has been a long shot to be ready only seven months after knee reconstruction. Some teams limit players until eight or nine months into recovery.
But Griffin had been hopeful he'd be ready for training camp and expressed frustration over the weekend about being placed on the active/physically unable to perform list.
Told late Monday of Frazier's comment, the fifth-year cornerback said, "I'm not really sure what's going on, so I'm just going to continue to do my drills and work out like I have been and continue to impress."
Griffin maintains he's fully healed -- asked specifically about his mobility on Monday, Griffin said, "It looks great to me, it looks great to the coaches, so I think it's good" -- and has had no setbacks. He's been seen running on adjacent practice fields throughout camp and said he's been running through coverages, too.
Coach Brad Childress was noncommittal when asked whether Griffin had been ruled out for the opener.
"I don't know that," Childress said. "I'm not going to put anything past him. We're just continuing to accelerate him here, and we'll see."
Griffin was more active than usual on Monday, although he remained a spectator. He wore a bulky brace on the knee while trailing Frazier in and out of the huddle during team drills, listening to the calls and trying to pick up fine points about offensive formations.
"I think he wanted to just get a different perspective," Frazier said. "He's doing something he's not accustomed to -- sitting and watching. He just wants to see some of the things I see and just talk through some strategy, and I think it'll help him when he does get back on the field."
Griffin, 27, has missed only one game in three seasons as a full-time starter. Lito Sheppard has taken the lion's share of reps with the starters in Griffin's place during camp and remains the favorite to start the opener.