Everson Griffen

Vikings’ Everson Griffen Suffers Concussion In Car Accident, Out For Week 2

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen sustained a concussion in a car accident this week and will not play in the team’s Week 2 game. The Vikings ruled out Griffen and linebacker Anthony Barr for Sunday’s Cardinals matchup.

Griffen’s accident occurred when he swerved to avoid a deer and crashed into a tree, according to the Minnetrista (Minn.) Public Safety Department (via KSTP). Griffen was on his way to the team’s facility. He is now in the Vikings’ concussion protocol. The recently re-signed pass rusher missed Minnesota’s past two practices.

The Vikings re-signed Griffen this summer, doing so after he spent the 2020 season with the Cowboys and Lions. Griffen, 33, played 41% of Minnesota’s defensive snaps in Week 1. Second-year D-end D.J. Wonnum started opposite Danielle Hunter in Cincinnati. Wonnum, Stephen Weatherly and rookie third-rounder Patrick Jones reside as the non-Hunter contingent of the Vikings’ defensive end corps.

Barr did not practice this week due to a knee injury that will keep him out for a second straight game. The eighth-year outside linebacker missed 14 games last season due to a pectoral muscle tear, and he has not played thus far this season. Barr, 29, agreed to a pay cut this offseason. He is now due for free agency in 2022.

The Vikings also ruled out first-round pick Christian Darrisaw for the second straight week. Although the rookie got in three limited practices, the Vikes are exercising caution here. The team’s would-be left tackle is working his way back from core-muscle surgery, his second of the year. Rashod Hill will continue to start at left tackle for the Vikings.

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Vikings Re-Sign DE Everson Griffen

As expected, Everson Griffen has landed back in Minnesota. The veteran defensive end is re-signing with the Vikings, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter).

The 33-year-old signed with the Vikings in late August, but the reunion was temporarily put on hold yesterday. The team cut the former Pro Bowler in order to carry impending IR players, and today’s re-signing seemed all but inevitable.

Griffen spent his entire career with the Vikings up until 2020. Splitting time between the Cowboys and Lions, Griffen finished out with six sacks in total. Meanwhile, no Vikings edge rusher finished with more than five. His ten-year run with the Vikes saw four Pro Bowl appearances and 74.5 total sacks.

Minnesota’s D-Line registered just 23 total sacks last year, putting them 28th in the league. Things are already looking up with Griffen back in the fold plus the return of Danielle Hunter. Meanwhile, the interior will be held down by veterans Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Sheldon Richardson.

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Vikings Cut Everson Griffen, Get Down To 53

Everson Griffen‘s reunion with the Vikings has already come to an end. The veteran defensive end was among the team’s cuts today.

Griffen spent his entire career with the Vikings up until 2020. Splitting time between the Cowboys and Lions, Griffen finished out with six sacks in total. Meanwhile, no Vikings edge rusher finished with more than five. His ten-year run with the Vikes saw four Pro Bowl appearances and 74.5 total sacks.

Running back Ameer Abdullah was among the other players to earn their walking papers today. The veteran spent the past two-plus seasons with the Vikings, collecting 313 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on 55 carries.

The Vikings made the following moves to get down to 53 players:

Released

Waived

Waived/Injured

Vikings To Sign DE Everson Griffen

The Vikings are set to sign defensive end Everson Griffen (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The deal hasn’t been finalized just yet, but Griffen will return to Minnesota barring any snags.

Griffen spent his entire career with the Vikings up until 2020. Splitting time between the Cowboys and Lions, Griffen finished out with six sacks in total. Meanwhile, no Vikings edge rusher finished with more than five. His ten-year run with the Vikes saw four Pro Bowl appearances and 74.5 total sacks.

Minnesota’s D-Line registered just 23 total sacks last year, putting them 28th in the league. Things are already looking up with Griffen back in the fold plus the return of Danielle Hunter. Meanwhile, the interior will be held down by veterans Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Sheldon Richardson. All of those vets will lead the way as third- and fourth-round rookies Patrick Jones II (Pittsburgh) and Janarius Robinson (Florida State) provide support at DE.

With Griffen, Justin Houston, and Melvin Ingram off of the market, Olivier Vernon stands as the most accomplished DE in free agency.

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DE Everson Griffen To Work Out For Vikings

Everson Griffen‘s hope of rejoining the Vikings could come true. The veteran defensive end is set to work out for the Vikings tomorrow, reports Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minnesota (via Twitter).

We heard last month that the longtime Vikings pass rusher wanted to return to Minnesota, with Griffen acknowledging that he “never should have left the Vikings” in the first place. That report indicated that the veteran also had the support of some former teammates regarding a reunion, but the signing wasn’t expected to come to fruition. Now, Griffen has a chance of landing back in Minny.

Following a 10-year stint with the Vikings that saw him make four Pro Bowl appearances, the 33-year-old split the 2020 season between the Cowboys and Lions. Despite playing for two teams and missing two games due to contracting COVID-19, Griffen finished with six sacks last season. No Viking rusher compiled more than five. Yannick Ngakoue reached five before the Vikings traded him in October; no one still with the team tallied more than three sacks in 2020. The Vikings finished with just 23 sacks last season, which ranked 28th in the NFL.

Minnesota’s D-line situation looks better going into the 2021 season. Danielle Hunter is on track to return after missing all of last season due to a neck injury. The team has three veteran D-tackle starters — Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson — set to join Hunter. The Vikings also used third- and fourth-round picks on ends — Patrick Jones II (Pittsburgh) and Janarius Robinson (Florida State) — in April. That said, Griffen could profile as a veteran stopgap opposite Hunter. He has three double-digit sack seasons on his resume and was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2019.

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Everson Griffen Wants To Return To Vikings

Everson Griffen played for two teams last season, with the Cowboys trading him to the Lions in October. The veteran defensive end has not surfaced on the radar much this offseason, but he wants to play a 12th NFL slate and would like to do so in a familiar place.

The longtime Vikings pass rusher wants to return to the team, according to Vikes play-by-play announcer Paul Allen. The 33-year-old edge defender texted Allen he “never should have left the Vikings,” with the KFAN radio host noting Griffen “desperately” wants to rejoin the Vikings (h/t SI.com’s Will Ragatz).

Despite playing for two teams and missing two games due to contracting COVID-19, Griffen finished with six sacks last season. No Viking rusher compiled more than five. Yannick Ngakoue reached five before the Vikings traded him in October; no one still with the team tallied more than three sacks in 2020. The Vikings finished with just 23 sacks last season, which ranked 28th in the NFL. While Allen said Griffen (80.5 career sacks) has support from some with the Vikings, he does not expect the four-time Pro Bowler to be back in Minnesota this season.

Minnesota’s D-line situation looks better going into the 2021 season. Danielle Hunter is on track to return after missing all of last season due to a neck injury. The team has three veteran D-tackle starters — Michael Pierce, Dalvin Tomlinson and Sheldon Richardson — set to join Hunter. The Vikings also used third- and fourth-round picks on ends — Patrick Jones II (Pittsburgh) and Janarius Robinson (Florida State) — in April. That said, Griffen could profile as a veteran stopgap opposite Hunter. He has three double-digit sack seasons on his resume and was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2019.

The Cowboys added Griffen midway through their 2020 training camp. Griffen catching on elsewhere this year will likely involve a similar transaction, with teams’ rosters largely set. A few teams figure to upgrade at defensive end, via starter or situational pass rusher, in the near future. A glut of veteran edges remain available. Griffen joins Justin Houston (32), Melvin Ingram (32) and Olivier Vernon (30) on the market.

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Top Remaining Pass Rushers

A team can never have too many pass rushers. Even as quarterbacks around the league try to get the ball out of their hands more quickly, the emphasis that most offenses put on their aerial attacks ensure that quality edge defenders will continue to be among the NFL’s most desirable commodities and, therefore, among the highest earners. As we sit in the middle of the lull between OTAs/minicamp and the start of training camp, let’s take a look at where things stand with a few of the highest-profile pass rushers that are still on the market.

  1. Justin Houston: Houston, one of the most fearsome pass rushers in the league during his heyday with the Chiefs, just finished up a two-year contract with the Colts. He is no longer a First Team All-Pro talent, but he was still plenty productive in Indianapolis, at least from a raw statistic standpoint. He averaged 9.5 sacks per year over his two Colts campaigns, and though Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics were not high on his work in 2020 – he received middling grades in both run defense and pass rush – the 32-year-old would be an asset to most any pass rushing corps. The only two teams really connected to him this offseason, the Ravens and the incumbent Colts, both added edge defenders in the first round of this year’s draft (Indy also invested a second-round choice on DE Dayo Odeyingbo). However, Baltimore’s first-round edge, Odafe Oweh, may be a little green, and the club lost Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue to free agency this offseason. As such, the Ravens may still be in the mix, and there are surely other teams monitoring the situation.
  2. Melvin Ingram: Like Houston, Ingram is 32, but unlike Houston, he is dealing with some health concerns. The longtime Charger earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2017-19, but knee problems limited him to just seven games in 2020. In those seven contests, Ingram failed to record a single sack, and given the lack of reporting on his knee, it’s fair to wonder if he is 100% healthy. He took a pre-draft visit with the Chiefs, and KC might still be interested, especially given Frank Clark’s recent legal trouble. Ingram also visited with the Dolphins after the draft, and while Miami selected uber-talented edge defender Jaelan Phillips with the No. 18 overall pick, the club also released LB and locker room favorite Kyle Van Noy. Plus, Phillips has a troubling medical history of his own, so there could be room in South Beach for another established pass rusher with leadership abilities. It is encouraging that Ingram’s PFF pass-rushing score of 76.3 was a top-20 mark, even if the sample size of snaps was comparatively small.
  3. Everson Griffen: Griffen’s free agency stay in 2020 lasted until August, when he inked a one-year deal with the Cowboys. Even though Dallas was still very much in the running for the historically weak NFC East, the club dealt Griffen to the Lions in advance of the trade deadline. The four-time Pro Bowler tallied six sacks across 14 games split between Dallas and Detroit, earning a 73.6 pass-rushing mark from PFF in the process (good for 25th out of 108 qualifiers). Now 33, Griffen is probably best utilized as a situational pass rusher at this point, but he could do well in such a role. While there has been no reported interest in his services this year, his recent history suggests that he is content to wait until late summer for the right opportunity to present itself.
  4. Olivier Vernon: Vernon, who will turn 31 in October, came to the Browns in 2019 as part of the blockbuster Odell Beckham trade. He lost six games to injury in his first Cleveland season and managed only 3.5 sacks. He was a candidate to be traded or released last offseason as the team flirted with Jadeveon Clowney, but ultimately he agreed to a paycut to remain with the Browns for 2020, the last year of his previous contract. He picked up nine sacks in 14 games – he has not played a full 16-game slate since 2016 – and while three of those sacks came against an injury-ravaged Eagles O-line, advanced metrics continue to be high on him. Pro Football Focus considered him the 20th-best edge player in the league last year, a grade that incorporated identical (and strong) 71.6 marks for his run defense and his pass rushing acumen. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn Achilles in the regular season finale, which is probably why there have been no reports of interest in him to date (and why he is not higher on this list). Depending on his prognosis, he could be an intriguing late summer or in-season add for any number of clubs.
  5. Bruce Irvin: Irvin suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, which he and the Seahawks had hoped would represent a successful second stint in Seattle. The ‘Hawks made him the No. 15 overall pick of the 2012 draft, which was generally viewed as a reach at the time, but the West Virginia product has put together a lengthy and productive NFL career. In his lone season with the Panthers in 2019, Irvin posted a career-high 8.5 sacks, and before his two-game campaign last year, he hadn’t posted a single-season sack total of less than 5.5 since his second pro season in 2013. At 33, he is the oldest player on this list, but assuming he has not faced any setbacks in his recovery, he should be ready to roll by the start of the 2021 season, or close to it. He might have a hard time getting much by way of guaranteed money, but he should certainly have an opportunity to continue his playing career if he wants to. But he may not want to. In March, Irvin posted a tweet that said, “I think it’s time,” which many obviously construed to be a hint that he was hanging up the cleats. There hasn’t been anything concrete, though, so his playing status is still unclear.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Everson Griffen Tests Positive For COVID-19

The Lions placed Everson Griffen on their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday and did so because of a positive test, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

An in-season trade acquisition, Griffen is now set to miss the next two Lions games. The veteran defensive end was one of three players whose most recent coronavirus test came back positive, joining Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin and Rams linebacker Jachai Polite.

Playing on a one-year deal, Griffen has five sacks this season. He has recorded 2.5 of those in his five games with the Lions. Should Griffen avoid complications from the season-defining virus, he could return in Week 16 to make a final impression for another run at free agency. Griffen is a half-sack away from 80 in his 11-year career.

This will leave the Lions thin on the edge, with Trey Flowers and rookie Julian Okwara on IR. Detroit also is down cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah. Griffen, however, is the only player on the team’s COVID list.

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Cowboys Trade Everson Griffen To Lions

Shortly after Everson Griffen trade rumors emerged, the veteran defensive end is on the move. He will return to the NFC North.

The Cowboys are trading Griffen to the Lions for a draft choice, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Griffen spent 10 seasons with the Vikings and will now be headed to Detroit to help the 3-3 team’s pass rush. The Lions will send the Cowboys a conditional sixth-rounder for Griffen, Rapoport adds (on Twitter). The pick would top out as a 2021 fifth, per ESPN.com’s Todd Archer.

Griffen signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Cowboys during training camp. But Dallas’ defense, despite featuring several veterans, has experienced consistent struggles this season. One of the 2010s’ best pass rushers, Griffen will head to a Lions team that just placed the younger of its two pass-rushing Okwaras, Julian, on IR. The Lions will be responsible for nearly $2MM of Griffen’s base salary.

With the Vikings from 2010-19, Griffen accumulated 77 sacks. He did so after spending the 2010-13 seasons as a backup. The ex-Viking cog registered 2.5 sacks in seven games as a Cowboy this season.

Griffen, 32, will need to pass six days’ worth of coronavirus tests before practicing with his new team. This will stand in the way of a 17-game season for the acclaimed edge defender. The Lions have already had their bye week, meaning Griffen’s first game with the team would be against the Vikings next week.

Although the Lions gave Trey Flowers a lucrative deal last year, they rank 28th with only eight sacks this season. Flowers and veteran Romeo Okwara have combined for six of those. Griffen finished with eight sacks and 24 QB hits for the Vikings last season and took his time choosing his next team in free agency. The Cowboys, however, will deal away one of their veteran defenders after a 2-5 start. The team recently redeployed Randy Gregory after his latest suspension ended, and Aldon Smith has produced for the Cowboys despite being out of the NFL for nearly five years.

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