Vikings’ Mike Zimmer Responds to Everson Griffen’s Beef With Ex-Coach

Mike Zimmer

Getty Vikings coach Mike Zimmer named Kirk Cousins the starting quarterback in the Vikings' season finale vs. the Chicago Bears.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has been vilified by former team captain Everson Griffen, who took it personally when Zimmer called him a “good,” not great, player earlier this week.

Griffen, who holds Zimmer in high regard for catapulting his career as a once-rotational player into a four-time Pro Bowler, said Zimmer’s comment hurt his feelings as he’s slated to return to Minnesota with the Lions.

“I got a little frustrated when I read that comment what Zimmer said, ‘Oh, Everson was a good player.’ Like, Coach Zimmer just wasn’t a good coach, he was a great coach to me,” Griffen told  so for him to call me a good player, that kind of hurts my feelings.”

Whether Griffen truly was hurt by the comment or has maneuvered the comment as simply media fodder and motivation, Zimmer said he saw Griffen’s response and was taken aback.

I wasn’t trying to be derogatory. I think Everson… I think I made him a captain my first or second year here. He’s always been a terrific leader for us, always done everything we tried to ask him to do,” Zimmer clarified on Friday. “I thought we had a good relationship. I don’t feel like I was being derogatory at all. I think Everson understands how I feel about him. I thought he did, anyway.”

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 Griffen Vows Zimmer Will Regret Slighting Him

Griffen released a frenzy of comments following Zimmer’s initial take on Griffen and took the opportunity to make several promises ahead of Sunday’s reunion during a videoconference on Thursday.

“I be looking and, I’m just a good player? All right, he got a good player coming his way. He’s going to see Sunday what he got coming for him,” Griffen said. “He’s going to put respect on my name, that’s all I’m saying. He [wasn’t just] a good coach to me, he was a great coach. He helped me improve, helped me grow. I don’t ever talk bad about people, so for him to call me a good player, all right, I got something for him on Sunday.”

Griffen didn’t stop there. On social media, one reporter acknowledged that Zimmer tends to not get too animated about any player — either on his team or an opponent. Griffen was unwilling to accept Zimmer’s crassness.

Zimmer did not take the opportunity to upgrade Griffen from a good to a great player during his Friday press conference as it seems both sides will go into Sunday’s game at U.S. Bank Stadium with chips on their shoulders: Griffen holding Zimmer’s slight close to his heart and Zimmer who admits he felt a bit crossed by Griffen’s reaction.