The NFC, in case you haven’t noticed, is stacked. All six NFC playoff teams won at least 10 games this season – and five won at least 11.
But the Vikings (13-3), who are the 2-seed in the NFC, aren’t intimidated. In fact, Everson Griffen was asked if there are any teams he fears, and the Vikings defensive end didn’t hesitate.
“Nobody,” Griffen said on Tiki and Tierney. “Honestly, nobody, man. Whoever we’re going to see next week, we’re going to have a great game plan. We have a great coaching staff – the best coaching staff in the NFL. We’re going to have a great game plan, and it’s up for the players to go out there and execute. We’re going to be prepared, we’re going to be ready to go, and it’s up to us. We don’t fear anybody. We just got to go out there and do our thing and what we’ve been doing for the past 17 weeks.”
Minnesota has a bye this week but could face the Rams (11-5), Saints (11-5) or Panthers (11-5) in the divisional round. Doesn’t matter which team – at least not to Griffen.
“I feel like we’re ready to play anybody at any given time,” he said. “There’s no ‘We want to play this team’ or ‘We want to play that team.’ Any team they put in front of us, we’re going to go out there and compete and try to get the win.”
Griffen’s confidence isn’t unwarranted. After all, the Vikings led the league in scoring defense (15.8 points per game) and ranked tenth in scoring offense (23.9 points per game). Not bad for a team that lost both its starting quarterback (Sam Bradford) and starting running back (Dalvin Cook) early in the season.
Case Keenum, though, has been a backup in name only. The 29-year-old completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“Case never listened to the naysayers,” Griffen said. “He competed, man. He always believed in himself and he came out firing. He came out with confidence. I feel as the season is going on, he’s getting better and better and better. You go as far as your quarterback takes you. He’s been playing well, and our defense has been doing that, too.”
The Super Bowl will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota on Feb. 4. The Vikings are seeking to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Griffen believes Keenum can lead them there.
“I respect him, man,” Griffen said. “Like I said, he believes in himself, we believe in him, and he’s a competitor. No matter what, he’s going to do his job at a high level. He practices like he plays. He has excitement, he has enthusiasm – he has everything that you’re looking for in a quarterback. . . . When you have a running game and a passing game, it’s hard for the defense to withstand that for four quarters.”