Sack Daddy is back.
In his first press conference in Minnesota in almost two years, Griffen, 33, admitted his time away from home was not how he expected.
“It was a tough decision to leave. I left because I thought the grass was greener on the other side, to be honest, and it wasn’t,” Griffen said. “I didn’t get the love that I got here with the fans, with the cultures, with the players — the grass wasn’t greener. I learned and I’m happy to be home.”
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‘It Was Rough’
After not reaching a restructure to his old contract, Griffen opted out of the final three years of his contract in March of last year. He spent the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys for seven games before being traded to the Detroit Lions for the remainder of the season.
Griffen fared well, tallying 6.0 sacks despite limited reps and learning two different defenses after a decade in Minnesota.
However, the changes took a toll.
“It was rough, Griffen said. “It was a hard year of football during the pandemic — moving my family three times, almost four times. But I strapped up, did what I had to do to take care of the family and put my best foot forward.”
Griffen was among several star players who struggled early in the season on the Cowboys defense. He tallied just 2.5 sacks in the first seven games of the season. But with Detroit, he resurfaced as a threat on the edge. He tallied four sacks and an 80.1 pass-rush grade by Pro Football Focus — which would have ranked 12th among all pass rushers if sustained for the whole season.
“I played good football down the stretch, learned two different playbooks in a matter of three or four months — you gotta take that into consideration,” Griffen said. “I did well, but it was rough. It was hard on my family and I’m just happy to be here and be back with the team and I’m ready to take it day-by-day and do what I gotta do.”
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‘Wherever They Want Me, I Can Do It’
Griffen reenters a Vikings defensive end room that has been searching for an answer opposite of Danielle Hunter.
The 33-year-old defensive end attests that he still has his coveted twitch and speed off the line but is willing to play a rotational role.
“If they want me as a situational player, I can do that. Wherever they want me, I can do it,” Griffen said.
Griffen’s 9.7% pressure rate and 6.0 sacks would have led the Vikings last season as the defensive line was the third-worst unit at getting to the quarterback in 2020, per ESPN.