He left USC as a question mark, an enormously talented player who needed to mature.
Eight years later,
Griffen, 29, also has 10 sacks and is one of the leaders of a Vikings defense that on Sunday will try to slow down the
"He's a nightmare to prepare for," Rams coach Sean McVay said, adding, "You always have a variety of things that you want to do to make sure that you at least have a plan for some of those guys that can wreck a game-plan and Everson is certainly one of those guys."
Griffen had first-round talent when he left USC and declared for the draft after the 2009 season, but he was not selected until the fourth round.
His first few seasons with the Vikings featured well-chronicled off-the-field incidents – in 2011 he was arrested twice in a three-day period in Los Angeles – and some tough times with more experienced teammates who did not want to see him waste his talent.
A lack of maturity when he entered the NFL held him back, Griffen said.
"I was a loose cannon," he said in a phone interview, "They couldn't trust me. I learned from it."
The Vikings initially played Griffen at end initially before trying him at linebacker.
In his fourth season, he became a starting end, and began putting to use the lessons he learned from teammates.
"When I was young and wild, I was still listening, still taking everything in," he said. "No matter what I was going through… I was working out for the season getting my body prepared. I worked hard so that any time I stepped on the [field] my motor was always running."
"He's going to be a full day of work – he doesn't take plays off," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, adding, "Whoever's blocking him goes to sleep one time, then he's got a chance to beat him."