Sports

Making progress: Everson Griffen's emergence has given Vikings another productive pass rusher

  • Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates after the Vikings defeated the Houston Texans 23-6 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

    Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates after the Vikings defeated the Houston Texans 23-6 in an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)  (The Associated Press)

  • Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings' Everson Griffen during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

    Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings' Everson Griffen during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)  (The Associated Press)

Everson Griffen has emerged as a reliable, productive player in his third season with Minnesota.

The Vikings weren't sure they could count on him after his first two years. But with personal growth, technique improvement and a recent opportunity, Griffen has been able to prove his worth.

Defensive end Brian Robison missed the game at Houston with a sprained right shoulder, so Griffen moved up from his nickel-package role for his first career start and had a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss. Filling in the week before when Robison was hurt at St. Louis, Griffen returned an interception for a touchdown and had three quarterback hurries.

Robison is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Green Bay. Cornerback Antoine Winfield is also questionable with knee and hand injuries.