Everson Griffen informed the Vikings that he will opt out of his contract, according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. The defensive end could have remained on his deal for another three years, but he achieved two statistical benchmarks that allowed him to split and he’s taking advantage of it.
Griffen’s pact allowed him to opt out by notching six or more sacks (he had eight) and playing in at least 57% of the snaps (he hit 78%). Griffen’s opt-out will give the Vikes roughly $13MM in cap room with just $800K left in dead money.
It’s still possible that the edge rusher will return to Minnesota, but he’ll first explore his options on the open market. This was the expected route. Besides, even if had Griffen stayed on his current deal, he would have been a candidate for release.
Griffen bounced back from his 2018 rough patch as he earned his fourth career Pro Bowl trip last year. He also graded out as the No. 26 ranked edge rusher in the league (tied with Trent Murphy), per Pro Football Focus. That slotted him ahead of notables like Melvin Ingram III, Dee Ford, Dante Fowler Jr., and Yannick Ngakoue.
Griffen, for his part, has said that he would like to stay in Minnesota. Still, a big offer could lure him away from the only pro team he’s ever known.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.