Everson Griffen Announces He Won't Be Returning to Vikings
Defensive end Everson Griffen has announced that he won't be returning to the Vikings in free agency. Griffen posted a heartfelt goodbye message on Instagram, and his agent Brian Murphy confirmed that the two sides are no longer talking about a deal.
"We have broken off talks with Minnesota because they have to spend their money elsewhere and we decided to now focus our attention on free agency," Murphy said in a statement, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The Vikings, who were in a difficult salary cap situation even before signing nose tackle Michael Pierce to a three-year, $27 million deal, simply couldn't afford the $8-10 million per year that Griffen was seeking.
Griffen was the longest-tenured player on the Vikings roster, having been with the team ever since he was drafted out of USC in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He made the Pro Bowl four times in his ten seasons with the Vikings, and was named a Second-Team All-Pro in 2017.
Griffen's 74.5 sacks are fourth-all time in franchise history, trailing only John Randle, Chris Doleman, and Jared Allen. During his Vikings career, Griffen also recorded ten forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.
"When I came to Minnesota as a fourth-round pick out of USC, I had no idea how much my life would change over the next 10 years," Griffen wrote on Instagram. "I realized my dream of playing in the NFL, went to four Pro Bowls and came within one game of playing in the Super Bowl in front of the best fans in the country. More importantly, I became a husband, a dad, and met teammates who became brothers for life. I also stumbled a few times on my journey and could not be more grateful for the unconditional support and love I received from SKOL Nation. While it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, I leave Minnesota in the best physical and mental shape I have ever been and have many Pro Bowl seasons to come! Wherever my next stop is, I will always be grateful to and cheering for the Vikings. Thank you all for the love, support and memories."
Where Griffen ends up next may depend on who signs Jadeveon Clowney. The Seahawks, who are coached by Pete Carroll – Griffen's coach at USC – have been rumored to be a potential destination.
The Vikings have now lost multiple pass-rushers since the start of the free agency tampering period, as Stephen Weatherly signed with the Panthers earlier this week. They will likely turn to fourth-year player Ifeadi Odenigbo to start opposite Danielle Hunter at defensive end; Odenigbo had seven sacks last season in a breakout year. General Manager Rick Spielman will presumably also look to add pass-rushers via free agency and the draft.
Griffen is the seventh defensive player to leave the Vikings in free agency this week, joining Weatherly, Trae Waynes, Linval Joseph, Jayron Kearse, Mackensie Alexander, and Andrew Sendejo. Recently-released corner Xavier Rhodes is widely expected to join them soon.
Join the conversation at InsideTheVikings by clicking the follow button in the upper right-hand corner of this page, and follow @WillRagatz on Twitter.