Ex-Vikings Star Everson Griffen Reaches Final Decision on 2020 Season: Report

Everson Griffen

Getty Everson Griffen addressed the possibility of returning to the NFL.

Everson Griffen has found a new home.

The 10-year Vikings veteran will leave the North Star State and travel south to the Lone Star State, joining the Dallas Cowboys for the 2020 season, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“The #Cowboys are adding a big-time pass-rusher, signing former #Vikings DE Everson Griffen, sources tell me, @TomPelissero and @SlaterNFL. With Minnesota for a decade, Griffen now heads to Dallas. A surprise,” Rapoport tweeted on August 12.

The Cowboys Had Not Shown Interest in Griffen Publicly; Mental Health Concerns May Have Been a Factor

The signing comes a day after NFL players were cleared to visit team training facilities. The inability to meet in person was a wrinkle in the free-agency process that likely played against Griffen, as potential teams could have been concerned about his mental health following his crisis in 2018, per the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson.

Alas, Griffen will play for a team other than the Vikings for the first time in his career. The Cowboys’ bid was under the radar after the Vikings and Seattle Seahawks had made their interest public.

His release seemed imminent as the Vikings re-signed Kirk Cousins in March, which set the team over the salary cap ceiling, spurring an exodus of many veteran players. Griffen’s cap hit was set at $13 million for the 2020 season after he took a pay cut in 2019. He opted out of his contract days after Cousins’ deal, an opportunity he had because he surpassed the benchmarks on his restructured contract. Griffen’s departure was the first of five among a defensive group that had become household names under coach Mike Zimmer.

ESPN Cowboys reporter Kimberley Martin reported that Griffen agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract. Michael Gehlken, Cowboys reporter for the Dallas Morning News, said Griffen will “be positioned to produce and cash in during 2021 free agency.” He added that there are no other performance incentives in the package but the “deal does have roster bonuses.”

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Vikings Offered Griffen a New Contract

Everson Griffen

GettyEverson Griffen was offered a new contract by the Vikings.

The Vikings and Griffen remained on good terms throughout the offseason and general manager Rick Spielman said he has had “some great conversations” with Griffen after his departure, according to Zone Coverage.

KSTP’s Darren Wolfson said the Vikings offered to re-sign Griffen this offseason, but the offer was likely a low one. The hopes of re-signing Griffen were rekindled after defensive tackle Michael Pierce opted out of the 2020 season due to health issues, freeing up $5 million towards this year’s cap space.

Griffen had 35 quarterback pressures and eight sacks in 2019, earning the fourth Pro Bowl selection of his career. He has 74.5 career sacks and 86 tackles for a loss in his 10 years as a pro.

Griffen now joins two-time Pro Bowler Demarcus Lawrence, Gerald McCoy, Aldon Smith and Tyrone Crawford on the defensive line.

The Vikings and Griffen will potentially reunite on November 22, when the Cowboys visit U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in a Week 11 matchup.

READ NEXT: Harrison Smith Throws Shade at Estranged Ex-Vikings Teammate

Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and a journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.

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