By Mike Max

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) – Veterans with the Minnesota Vikings reported to training camp on Wednesday for the final year in Mankato, and one of the team’s top defensive players agreed to a contract extension.

Team officials said Everson Griffen, one of the top defensive ends in the NFC, has agreed to an extension that will reportedly keep him with the Vikings through the 2022 season.

In seven seasons, Griffen has recorded 273 total tackles, 48 sacks and 71 tackles for a loss. He’s also caused 281 quarterback hurries, forced five fumbles, had six fumble recoveries and three career touchdowns.

Griffen became a full-time starter at defensive end in 2014 and has started all 47 games since. His 30.5 sacks in that span is the fifth-most in the NFL.

The Vikings drafted Griffen in the fourth round in 2010 and is the second-longest tenured Viking behind Brian Robison.

“It shows that they have extreme confidence and faith in me and that they believe in my abilities to go out there and help this team win a championship,” Griffen said. “That’s our No. 1 goal each and every year.”

The first full team workout for training camp is Thursday morning. The players who hadn’t already arrived earlier in the week spent Wednesday checking in and moving into their dorm, which is home for the next few weeks.

“The first part of training camp is just really saying goodbye to family. For me, that might be the hardest part at this point in my career,” center Joe Berger said. “Saying goodbye to the wife and four kids and just getting your mind settled in on football for a few weeks.”

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater created quite a stir with his arrival in Mankato. So too, did Sam Bradford, who’s in Mankato at training camp for the first time.

“You know it’s a little bit different coming down here and walking into a dorm room for the first time since college. But I thought it was really cool today to pull in and see all of our fans out there. I think that’s pretty special and it just speaks to how great our fans are,” Bradford said.

What’s ahead is to become a better football team than say, the second half of 2016. The Vikings started 5-0, but finished 3-8 and missed the playoffs.

“I’m definitely ready for the season. Looking forward to going out there and showing what I can do for my team and what we can do to get to the Super Bowl,” defensive end Danielle Hunter said.


Mike Max