Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen has been A-topic among fans eager to see the 2010 Vikings draftee return to the purple and gold.
Griffen, who reportedly turned down a deal with Minnesota during the offseason and signed with the Dallas Cowboys to a single-year $6 million contract, has been avidly posting on social media to stir the calls for his homecoming.
Griffen, who lives and trains in Minnesota during the offseason, visited the Vikings training facility in Eagan, Minn. and sent a curious statement as the 33-year-old approaches free agency for the second time in as many years.
“It’s never been about the money! It’s been about the respect. Now with respect comes the money! Keep playing checkers. I’ll stick to chess,” said Griffen, who tagged his trainer in the tweet and added, “still so much to improve.”
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Did the Vikings Disrespect Griffen?
Griffen was widely regarded as the emotional leader and heartbeat of a Vikings defense that for half a decade was one of the league’s top units.
Extending Kirk Cousins another two years last offseason spelled signs of the mass exodus that ensued. Griffen got out before he could be cut by Minnesota. Instead, he opted out of his player-option contract while the defense saw four other starters released and Stefon Diggs traded away to the Buffalo Bills.
While the Vikings made a “competitive offer” for Griffen, his decision to sign with the Cowboys could have been a matter of respect for himself. Griffen, after restructuring his contract in 2019, was coming off his fourth Pro Bowl season in five years. He would be due $13.9 million from Minnesota had he stayed in 2020 — a price the salary cap-struggled Vikings couldn’t afford.
Griffen’s grievances with coach Mike Zimmer calling him a “good,” not great player, this season is a sign he may still have a soft spot for the team that drafted him in 2010. It may have also just been Griffen’s gamesmanship in trying to find any motivation when the Detroit Lions faced the Vikings in Week 9, however, a photo Griffen shared of Zimmer and him shaking hands after the game publicly reconciled the theatrical beef between the two earlier this season.
Griffen’s caption for the photo is all you need to know about his eagerness to return to Minnesota.
If you want it, go get it!!!!! pic.twitter.com/oQKjGsWTHj
— Everson Griffen (@EversonGriffen) January 5, 2021
Vikings Should Extend an Offer to Griffen Again
Griffen has been amping Vikings fans on social media with teasers of his return all week after driving home from Detroit to the Twin Cities, where he currently lives in the offseason.
Griffen fared well away from home, tallying six sacks between two different defenses. Meanwhile, Minnesota struggled to generate any semblance of a pass rush.
Yannick Ngakoue, the Jacksonville Jaguars journeyman the Vikings had for six weeks before trading him to the Baltimore Ravens, led the team with five sacks. Ifeadi Odenigbo posted a team-high 3.5 sacks in 15 starts among rostered players.
Griffen could step into a leadership role for a defense that lacked any sort of identity last season and could be a strong rotational pass rush piece alongside the return of Danielle Hunter and rookie D.J. Wonnum.
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and 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.