MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Veteran defensive end Everson Griffen is reuniting with the Minnesota Vikings.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the signing Monday, which the team later confirmed. The 33-year-old Griffen is coming off of six sacks last year with the Dallas Cowboys and later the Detroit Lions. He spent the previous 10 seasons with the Vikings.
Reunion: The #Vikings are expected to sign veteran pass-rusher Everson Griffen, who worked out for his old friends last week, source said. Griffen had 6 sacks last year for the #Cowboys and #Lions, but spent every season prior in Minnesota.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 23, 2021
Officially 💯% Real
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 23, 2021
“This has always been the right fit for me and I’m excited to be here, excited to be back with the team,” Griffen said.
“If I didn’t think he could help us, we wouldn’t sign him,” head coach Mike Zimmer said at a press conference Monday. Zimmer added that Griffen would be “a situational player.”
Zimmer also said D.J. Wonnum and Stephen Weatherly are still competing for the starting defensive end spot opposite Danielle Hunter.
“They’re still battling, and one of them will end up being the starter there,” he said. “We’ll use the other one rotationally.”
Griffen said he’s “happy” to play a rotational role for the Vikings.
“I’m gonna try to do it at a high level, the highest level, and go out there and help this team win ball games,” he said.
When asked why he left the Vikings after the 2019 season, Griffen said it was a “tough decision” but that he hasn’t “really thought about that.”
“Why did I leave?” he said. “I left because I thought the grass was greener on the other side, to be honest, and it wasn’t … I should’ve stayed, and I’m happy to be back.”
The Vikings drafted Griffen in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He didn’t become a starter until 2015, recording an average of 11 sacks per season in four years.
Following the 2020 season with the Vikings, Griffen chose to exercise his option to void the remaining three years on his contract and became a free agent. He later signed with the Cowboys. He was acquired by the Lions later in the season.
Griffen took five games off several years ago to treat his mental health.