During the 2012 offseason, the Vikings wanted to get more snaps for defensive end Everson Griffen by attempting to convert him to a linebacker.
By the start of the season, that linebacker project was put to rest and the Vikings had to find snaps elsewhere.
Jared Allen and Brian Robison were the clear-cut starting defensive ends for Minnesota and the team wasn’t going to take many snaps away from them barring injury. For the season, Allen accounted for a total of 1,035 snaps and Robison accounted for 858.
Kevin Williams played exclusively at defensive tackle and was in for 808 snaps. Coming in fourth place for appearances was Griffen at 607 snaps, over a hundred snaps more than starting nose tackle Letroy Guion.
Griffen, 25, relieved Allen and Robison on occasion, but he played a significant amount of snaps at defensive tackle. A lot of this had to do with that fact that Vikings were in their nickel defense more than all but six NFL teams, meaning they were in pass-rushing mode a lot of the time
While shifting around the defensive line all season, Griffen finished with 26 tackles (23 solo) and eight sacks. His most impressive game came on Dec. 12 against the Packers when he finished the game with four tackles and three sacks.
Griffen figures to be a major part of this Vikings defense for the future, likely to replace Allen or Robison in the future. It is also quite possible the team asks him to bulk up to play more snaps inside the line as well.