After a lifeless 33-6 loss to the Denver Broncos in the preseason opener, the Minnesota Vikings may bring new life into the locker room with an upcoming workout on Wednesday.
KSTP’s Darren Wolfson reported Tuesday night that Griffen will try out for Minnesota on Wednesday.
The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!
Griffen tallied 6.0 sacks last season between stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. He’s advocated for his return as the heart and soul of Mike Zimmer’s defense all offseason. The four-time Pro Bowler may have a real chance after months of speculation.
It will be his second reported visit to the Vikings practice facilities this year, the first coming in January when Griffen was feverishly pushing for Minnesota to sign him.
However, there is a catch with bringing Griffen back into the locker room.
Locker Room Drama
Griffen seemingly tarnished his relationship with the Vikings after a Twitter tirade over the offseason.
Advocating for his return in January, Griffen, engaging with fans, took several shots at quarterback Kirk Cousins, suggesting a rift between the team’s highest-paid player and Zimmer.
Griffen’s public grievances and departure from Minnesota could be partially placed on Cousins, who received a $66 million contract extension in the 2020 offseason.
Amid an offseason that saw seven veteran starters leave, the writing was on the wall for Griffen after Cousins’ contract extension.
Griffen was on a rare player-controlled option to void a contract that only two players in the league had in 2019. By surpassing benchmarks in his contract, it allowed Griffen the option to opt out of his contract with the Vikings in 2020. Minnesota would have struggled to keep him under his $13.9 million cap hit for the 2020 season. That cap hit left Griffen on the chopping block. He instead salvaged some self-respect and opted out of the contract before he could be cut. The Vikings saved $13 million from Griffen’s departure, which created necessary cap space to re-sign Dalvin Cook.
Despite the harbored animosity, Griffen apologized for his comments about Cousins and maintained his plead to return to the Vikings in the aftermath of his Twitter rant.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content from Skol Nation!
‘He Has People in His Corner’
After months of silence on Griffen’s return, KFAN’s Paul Allen revealed he had been texting Griffen in July and offered an additional apology for the once fan favorite of Allen’s #92Noon! radio show.
“(Griffen) desperately wants to come back to the Minnesota Vikings,” Allen said. “He texted me and the vein that he opened: ‘I never should have left the Vikings. I f***** up. What I tweeted was wrong. The Vikings organization took great care of me through my ups and downs and I disrespected a lot of people. ‘ ”
“He has people in his corner with the Minnesota Vikings — I feel comfortable in saying that,” Allen added. “I would not rule out Everson Griffen joining the Minnesota Vikings before the season. I wouldn’t bet on it, but I ain’t gonna rule it out.”
Griffen would undoubtedly provide veteran experience and add to the possible platoon of competition at defensive end. D.J. Wonnum and Stephen Weatherly have been considered frontrunners for the starting gig opposite Danielle Hunter, but neither has emerged as a clear winner.
Griffen would add depth and veteran experience, however, his presence has been considered a delicate situation by several pundits who feel a rift could form within the team given his comments on Cousins.