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Vikings haven't talked Everson Griffen franchise tag

INDIANAPOLIS -- With Jared Allen likely to land elsewhere next season, the Minnesota Vikings have a big decision to make on Everson Griffen.

We pegged the young defensive end as a possible target for the team's franchise tag, but coach Mike Zimmer told Around The League on Friday that those discussions haven't taken place.

"We haven't talked about the tags," Zimmer said. "We've just been evaluating our players. I think once we figure out more the football team that we have and where our funds need to go, and those kinds of things, we'll figure that out."

Zimmer praised Griffen's "great first step" as a pass rusher, but said "until I really get out there on the field with them," he can't say for sure how the 26-year-old will fit into a scheme that relies on its linemen to pressure the passer.

The Vikings, however, don't have that kind of time to measure Griffen's value. He'll be free to test the market if Minnesota doesn't apply the tag by March 3 or work out a long-term contract with the end by the launch of free agency March 11.

If the Vikings don't franchise Griffen, they'll have plenty of holes to fill on a defensive front that could see both Allen and Kevin Williams depart. Zimmer's defense needs more of these players, not fewer.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" discusses controversial draft prospects Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney and reviews the offseason forecasts for the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers.

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