Everson Griffen

Vikings Likely To Cut Xavier Rhodes; Latest On Everson Griffen

Earlier today, we discussed a possible extension for Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, an extension that would give Minnesota some much-needed cap space. In addition to a potential new deal for Cousins, Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune notes that other priorities for the Vikings this offseason include extensions for head coach Mike Zimmer, GM Rick Spielman, and running back Dalvin Cook, all of whom are only under contract through 2020. The team will also need to find a new OC, as the Browns just hired Kevin Stefanski to be their next head coach.

The Vikings may also be looking at some significant turnover on the defensive side of the ball. As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press observes, four of the team’s six defensive starters with Pro Bowls on their resumes — DE Everson Griffen, DT Linval Joseph, S Harrison Smith, and CB Xavier Rhodes — are on the wrong side of 30, or will be next season (Twitter link).

Per Tomasson, Minnesota is likely to release Rhodes. That does not come as much of a surprise, as Rhodes’ play has declined dramatically since he signed a lucrative extension in July 2017, and the team could net a $8.1MM cap savings by cutting him.

Tomasson also suggests that Griffen may not be back with the team in 2020. Pursuant to the terms of a reworked deal that Griffen and the Vikings agreed to last March, Griffen is technically under contract through 2022. But because he played at least 56% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2019 and recorded at least six sacks — he actually played over 77% of defensive snaps while posting eight sacks — he has the ability to void the 2020-22 seasons and hit free agency. Or, even if he does not choose to do so, the Vikings could release him and save about $13MM of cap space.

In any event, it figures to be a busy offseason for Minnesota, a talented team that has just not been able to get over the hump.

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Vikings To Keep Everson Griffen

The Vikings and pass-rusher Everson Griffen have struck a deal for him to remain on the team, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Griffen was set to have his $10.9MM salary fully guaranteed by tomorrow, which gave the Vikings pause. Instead, the two sides negotiated to find a workaround.

Griffen will accept a base salary cut from $10.9MM to $6.4MM in a move that will create $4.3MM in savings for the Vikings, according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. However, his per-game roster bonus total will rise from $500K to $1.5MM, so he can make up some of that loss simply by staying on the field. Additionally, Griffen — who is currently under contract through 2022 — now has the ability to void the final three years of his pact by achieving incentives.

In order to void those seasons, Griffen must post six sacks while playing at least 56% of the Vikings’ snaps in 2019, tweets Ben Goessling of ESPN.com. Griffen can also collect $500K by producing eight sacks next year.

After a bevy of extensions in recent years, plus the massive free agent deal signed by Kirk Cousins last year, the Vikings are in a tough cap situation. Griffen, 31, signed a new deal with Minnesota just a couple of years ago, but releasing him would have saved them upwards of $10MM in cap space.

Last year, Griffen missed five games as he dealt with personal issues. Without confidence in Griffen’s status, the Vikings were unwilling to move forward under the previous terms of the deal, which runs through 2022.

But when he’s right, Griffen is excellent. Even in a 2018 season that saw him deal with apparently significant off-field matters, Griffen posted 5.5 sacks and graded out as an above-average edge defender.

After surprisingly re-signing Anthony Barr and finding a way to keep Griffen in the fold, the Vikings are bringing back all of their top defenders for at least one more season as they attempt to rebound from a disappointing 2018 campaign.

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Everson Griffen’s Roster Spot Uncertain?

Thought to be the high-profile member of the Vikings’ defensive core that received his money elsewhere, Anthony Barr is staying in Minnesota. The linebacker’s $13.5MM-AAV deal, however, may force another homegrown talent out.

Everson Griffen‘s deal may soon be under consideration for a restructure, but if the veteran defensive end does not agree to do so, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets it is likely Griffen will be released.

As could be expected given the bevy of extensions in recent years and the fully guaranteed contract for Kirk Cousins, the Vikings are up against the cap. Griffen, 31, and the Vikings agreed to an extension in 2017. That deal runs through 2022, but if the Vikings moved on, they would save more than $10MM in cap space.

Griffen’s stock is also not at an especially high level, given his five-game stint away from the Vikings last season. Minnesota also re-upped Danielle Hunter, who is only set for his age-25 season, last year. The Pro Bowl sack artist will be a priority to retain over Griffen. The latter, though, has played nine seasons with the Vikings and was a Pro Bowler from 2015-17. Griffen has 66.5 career sacks and would figure to generate some interest on the market.

While Rick Spielman has managed to squeeze many veterans’ high-end contracts under the cap, it appears the Vikings are not interested in bringing Griffen back on a $10.9MM salary for 2019.

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Everson Griffen To Return For Vikings

It’s been a rollercoaster these past few weeks for Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, but he’ll finally be returning to the field. Griffen is “expected to be active and play on Sunday ” against the Saints, according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN. It’ll be the first game Griffen has played in since the team’s Week 2 tie against the Packers.

The team initially announced a little over a month ago that he was dealing with a “serious personal health issue”, that was initially clouded in secrecy. More details began to pour out, and it was eventually revealed that he was dealing with mental health issues following a scary incident at a Minneapolis hotel.

For a few weeks there was no update on his situation, and Minnesota continued to insist there was no timeline for his return. Then out of nowhere, Griffen returned to practice on Wednesday. The team was initially mum on whether or not he would play, but it appears he’ll be all systems go for the team’s pivotal game against New Orleans.

It’s great to hear that Griffen is apparently past whatever was troubling him, and it’ll be a massive boost to the Vikings’ banged up defense. Griffen will provide a massive upgrade to Minnesota’s pass-rush, and they’ll need him to get in Drew Brees’ face early and often if they want to win the re-match of last year’s NFC divisional round thriller.

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Everson Griffen Set To Return To Vikings Tomorrow

Everson Griffen is back. The Vikings announced this evening that the defensive end will resume team activities tomorrow.

The three-time Pro Bowler appeared in two games with Minnesota earlier this season, compiling six tackles and one sack. However, in late September we learned that Griffen was away from the team as he dealt with a “serious, personal health-related issue.” Following several bizarre incidents, the organization said the 30-year-old wouldn’t be returning to the team until he was in a better state of mind (other reports indicated that he was barred from the team until he underwent a mental health evaluation). Fortunately, it sounds like Griffen is doing better, allowing him to return to the field.

“We have been in communication with Everson’s medical professionals throughout this process and have relied on his recommendations regarding the appropriate next steps for Everson,” general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome Everson back to the Vikings and to see him around teammates, coaches, and staff – people who care deeply about his well-being. Our focus will continue to be on providing an on-going support system for Everson and his family.”

“Being around my teammates and coaches is something I have missed for several weeks,” Griffen said. “While this is an exciting and positive move forward for me, it is only the next step in a longer process. I look forward to once again putting in the work with the guys and contributing to this team in any way I can. My larger focus remains on addressing my personal health, and I’m hopeful the time will come when I feel comfortable sharing my story and using my platform to bring awareness to these issues. I continue to be extremely grateful for the constant support from my family, my teammates, the Vikings organization and our tremendous fans.”

The Vikings will certainly welcome Griffen back with open arms. The veteran has established himself as one of the top defensive ends in the NFL, emphasized by a 2017 campaign that saw him compile 45 tackles, three forced fumbles, and a career-high 13 sacks. The former fourth-rounder inked a four-year, $58MM extension with the Vikings in 2017.

During his absence, the team has been relying on Stephen Weatherly and Tashawn Bower. Considering his time off, it’s unlikely Griffen slides back into the lineup for this weekend’s game against the Saints. However, he’ll surely be placed back into the starting lineup once he’s ready to go.

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NFC Notes: Thomas, Garoppolo, Griffen

The obscene parting shot that Seahawks safety Earl Thomas made in the direction of his team’s bench as he was being carted off the field last week was not directed at any one person or player, but at the Seattle organization as a whole, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. And, even though all signs were already pointing towards a parting of the ways between Thomas, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the only NFL team he has ever known, Schefter reports that the Seahawks are not expected to use the franchise tag on Thomas, which all but ensures that he will not return to Seattle in 2019.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Thomas will have surgery to have a rod inserted in his leg this week, which will increase his chances of healing while lowering his chances of a re-fracture, so he is expected to be fully healthy well before free agency officially opens in March.

Now for more from the NFC, starting with another item out of Seattle:

  • Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks was hit with an indefinite suspension earlier this week, and Schefter reports that Kendricks, his lawyers, and the NFLPA are still battling to prove that the NFL does not have the right to impose such a ban in his case. Instead, Kendricks is arguing that the league should suspend him for a specific number of games, thereby allowing him to return to action this season and play until he receives his sentence for insider trading in January.
  • In keeping with a report from several days ago that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo underwent successful surgery on his torn ACL, Rapoport tweets that Garoppolo faces a relatively obstacle-free rehab. His ACL was the only thing that needed to be repaired, so he is expected to make a full recovery.
  • We heard at the end of last month that there was no definite timeline for Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen to return to the team, and Schefter reported today that Griffen is not expected to return anytime soon. Griffen, of course, is tending to apparently serious mental health issues.
  • Lions guard T.J. Lang suffered at least the fifth concussion of his career last week, and assuming he wants to continue his career, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com believes 2018 will be his last season in Detroit. Lang is under contract through 2019, but he missed games last year because of brain, back and foot issues, and he is dealing with brain and back issues again this year. He would carry a cap hit of $11.7MM in 2019, and Meinke does not envision Detroit ponying up that kind of cash given Lang’s recent spate of injury problems.
  • The Buccaneers recently worked out former first-round draft choice Paxton Lynch, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Bucs have no interest in signing Lynch at this time.

No Timeline For Everson Griffen’s Return

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen isn’t sure when he’ll return to the field after undergoing a mental health evaluation following a bizarre weekend which included police being called, as Griffen indicated in a statement released Thursday night.

“This past week’s events have raised many questions and I apologize to everyone who was impacted,” Griffen said. “I am currently focused on resolving personal issues with which I have been dealing for a long time. Once I have had time to address those issues, I hope to share my story with everyone.”

“I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from my family, the Vikings organization, my teammates and our tremendous fan base. I apologize for not being able to take the field with my teammates and do not have an exact timeline for my return. I promise, however, I will return as a much-improved person and player.”

Police were called to Minneapolis hotel Saturday following reports Griffen was threatening to assault staff members, and Griffen later reportedly behaved erratically outside teammate Trae Waynes‘ home. The Vikings and Griffen reached an agreement that he would stay away from the Vikings until he was in a better mental state.

On the field, Minnesota has deployed 2016 seventh-round pick Stephen Weatherly in place of Griffen, while Tashawn Bower has also seen an increase in snaps over the past two weeks.

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TNF Notes: Vikings, Cook, Rams, Peters

Let’s take a look at a few notes on the Vikings and Rams before tonight’s tilt:

  • Running back Dalvin Cook didn’t play in Week 3 when the Vikings lost to the Bills, but he’s expected to suit up tonight, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Cook is dealing with a hamstring injury, and Minnesota coaches plan to use caution by examining his during pre-game warmups. After taking part in today’s walkthrough, Cook will be on a pitch count against the Rams. That means backup Latavius Murray, who filled in for Cook last week, could see work against Los Angeles’ vaunted defensive line. Cook, of course, suffered a torn ACL and missed the majority of his rookie campaign in 2017, but did average 4.8 yards per carry before going down.
  • Cook isn’t the only injured player who will be active for tonight’s contest, as Rams cornerback Marcus Peters will be avaialable despite reports he would miss time with a calf strain, tweets Steve Wyche of NFL.com. Peters was expected to miss two-to-four weeks, a devastating loss especially given that fellow Los Angeles defensive back Aqib Talib was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. Instead, Peters will take the field, giving the Rams at least some hope of stopping Vikings wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Like Cook, Peters could conceivably be on a snap limit, meaning Los Angeles will need to count on reserves like Sam Shields and Troy Hill.
  • After a bizarre weekend, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen will unsurprisingly be inactive for tonight’s game. He spent today finishing a mental health evaluation, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Griffen is expected to speak publicly about his situation in the near future. Police were called to Minneapolis hotel Saturday following reports Griffen was threatening to assault staff members, and Griffen later reportedly behaved erratically outside teammate Trae Waynes‘ home.

Latest On Vikings’ Everson Griffen

This week, local police said the Vikings told Everson Griffen that he could not return to the team until he received a mental health evaluation. That’s not exactly the case, according to ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin. Instead, she hears that Griffen was told to not worry about practice last week or the game against the Bills. Both sides, she hears, were in agreement that Griffen would stay away from the club until he was in a better mental state. 

Meanwhile, there’s some mystery as to whether Griffen attempted to break into into the home of teammate Trae Waynes. A person called the police to say that Griffen was in the bushes of the home and appeared to be looking for entry, but Waynes has issued a statement denying that there was an attempted break-in.

To clarify, there was no attempted break-in at our home and at no point did my family or I feel unsafe,” Waynes said. “We are friends with the Griffen family and we are here to support them in any way possible during these trying times.”

Waynes did not deny that Griffen appeared at their home, so it seems quite possible that Griffen arrived unannounced at Waynes’ property and was acting erratically. However, it sounds like there was no real break-in attempt, and the lack of charges from local authorities seems to support that.

Still, there are many questions left to be answered when it comes to Griffen and his ongoing issues.

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Latest On Vikings’ Everson Griffen

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is being evaluated and treated at a mental health facility, sources tell Paul Walsh of the Star Tribune. This comes after his wife phoned police with concern about his behavior. 

Police were called to a downtown Minneapolis hotel on Saturday where he was threatening to assault staff employees and lying on the lobby floor. Later that day, Griffen’s wife contacted police to tell them that Griffen had sped off in a vehicle with another person and was not wearing a shirt. He returned later on, but police then received a call from a woman who said that Griffen was either breaking into the home of teammate Trae Waynes or trying to break in. A woman said she saw a shirtless Griffen at one point in the bushes of the yard.

Vikings player development director Les Pico told police that Griffen has not been himself for a few weeks and added that the team sent Griffen’s camp a letter on Thursday saying he wasn’t allowed back until he had a mental health evaluation (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com). The hotel incident on Saturday did not result in charges, so Griffen has been cleared by local authorities. It also appears that he was not forced to enter a mental health facility – rather, he is there voluntarily.

It’s a scary situation for Griffen, who inked a four-year, $58MM extension with the Vikings in 2017. No one knows exactly what’s going on with the three-time Pro Bowler, and the Vikings are understandably concerned about his overall wellbeing.

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