Will Vikings Re-Sign Pro-Bowler While Rivals Linger As Suitors?

Everson Griffen

Getty Griffen has been circulating many team’s trade rumors this offseason.

Former Minnesota Vikings pass rusher Everson Griffen is still a free agent after opting out of the final three years of his contract in February.

He voided the final three years of his deal after exceeding benchmarks on his 2019 restructured contract. Griffen showed at age 32, he still can play at a high-level, totaling eight sacks and playing on 78 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

The contract showed amicable respect for Griffen who was one of only two players in the NFL that had the player-controlled option to void their contracts last season, InsideTheVikings’ Will Ragatz said. Unfortunately, Griffen’s decision was not one of free will, but a matter of facing the music as the salary-capped Vikings likely would have had to release him anyway to get under the projected salary cap for 2020.

Griffen was one of the longest-tenured Vikings on the roster, an emotional leader and a fan favorite and has made it known he wants to be a Viking for life. There’s a possibility the Vikings could resign him, but if given a higher offer, it wouldn’t be a surprise Griffen landed elsewhere in his 11th year.

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Browns, Seahawks & NFC North Rivals Interested in Everson Griffen

Everson Griffen

GettySeveral NFC rivals are in the market for a defensive end.

Bleacher Report took stock of the remaining free agents and found that Griffen would be a good fit with the Cleveland Browns.

Former Vikings offensive coordinator and now Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski is looking to trim some of the past regimes salary cap constraints, which include defensive end Olivier Vernon. The 29-year-old tied a career-low for sacks (3.5) last season and is slated to make $15.5 million in 2020.

The Seattle Seahawks released Jadeveon Clowney and are searching for a cheaper replacement. It’d be a fitting end to Griffen’s career by reuniting with Pete Carroll, who coached Griffen at USC. ESPN Radio’s Seattle affiliate station recently made a case that Griffen could be signed to a single-year contract for $3 million. The Dallas Cowboys have also been pressed to sign Griffen.

Griffen has also landed at the top of many possible free agent lists for the Detriot Lions and the Green Bay Packers. If Griffen joined the latter quartet of teams he would be reunited with the Vikings, but this time his energy would be felt on the opposite side of the field.

Everson Griffen Has Been in Contact with GM Rick Spielman

A month after a heartfelt Instagram goodbye to Vikings fans on March 20, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said he has had “some great conversations” with Griffen, according to Zone Coverage.

View this post on Instagram

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. 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.

A post shared by Everson Griffen (@eversongriffen) on

What these conversations entail is left in the air, but the fact Griffen has stayed in contact with the organization is a sign that he hasn’t severed ties with the team that drafted him. His decision will likely come after Clowney is signed as the highest valued defensive end in free agency.

Dalvin Cook’s contract remains atop the Vikings’ to-do list along with signing their rookie draft class, but there could be some restructuring and releases that would make room for the beloved Vikings star.

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Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire