Everson Griffen visited the Minnesota Vikings for a tryout on Wednesday that has yet to yield any signing.
However, he’s been adamant about returning to his role as the team’s Energizer Bunny. After visiting the Vikings practice facility in January, Griffen began advocating for his return on Twitter but let some frustrations spill over social media, calling Kirk Cousins “a**” and claiming coach Mike Zimmer never wanted the veteran quarterback.
Griffen has since apologized publically several times in the past year. The decision to bring his energy back could create one of the most seismic shifts of any locker room in the NFL.
He’s garnered the support of both his ex-teammates in the building and former Vikings linebacker turned radio analyst Ben Leber.
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Ex-Teammates Rally for Griffen
Following Griffen’s workout on Wednesday, Harrison Smith touted his support of his teammate of seven seasons.
“He’s one of my good friends, so I always loved playing with Everson,” Smith said, per the Pioneer Press. “I’d play with him anytime. It’s Everson, so we know what he brings to the table.”
Ham spoke to the energy Griffen brought to the locker room and approved of the opportunity Griffen received in Wednesday’s tryout.
“I played with Ev for a long time,” Ham said. “He brings the type of energy that everybody loves. …We’ll see what happens. But it’s awesome that he got another opportunity (to try out).”
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‘They’re Going to Get the Best Everson Griffen’
On KFAN’s 9 to Noon program with Paul Allen, Leber leveled with fans concerned about the possible rift in the locker room after Griffen’s Twitter tirade in January.
“I understand where everybody is coming from with ‘Well, look what he said about Kirk. Look what he did with the head coach. Look what he tweeted on the way out,’ ” Leber said. “I’d like to think the Vikings aren’t dumb. They’re going to do their due diligence. If they’re going to bring him in for a workout, don’t you think they’ve already checked those boxes before. Don’t you think there’s been some communication with him? I’m sure there’s been private conversation even after he did that months ago. He came on (9 to Noon) and said he was sorry. He’s been very remorseful. He’s said all the right things that he should.”
Griffen may not be the same player he was in his prime. However, he proved to be still effective in chasing the quarterback a year ago when he tallied 6.0 sacks between two defenses in the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions.
Leber made a case for signing Griffen to a veteran minimum deal and involving him on passing downs.
“You can sign a veteran for a $1 million-plus that’s not guaranteed that you’re familiar with, that’s going to bring some juice to this defense,” Leber said. “There’s not a lot of juice on this defense from a personality standpoint. We have potential Hall of Famers on this defense, but we don’t have anybody that’s like Everson.
“He’s got the ear and the emotional connection: with Harrison on the back end, with Barr and Kendricks in the middle. Danielle knows him. He’s an easy guy to like as a teammate.”
Leber added that he has a soft spot for Griffen due to the emotional growth the 33-year-old defensive end has shown over his career and would provide results right away instead of banking on D.J. Wonnum or Stephen Weatherly to be up to speed early in the season.
“I think he’s one of those special human beings that really needs football right now,” Leber said. “They’re going to get the best Everson Griffen… Why not bring a guy in that can help your defense immediately?”