The Minnesota Vikings have had Everson Griffen as a constant on their defensive line for a decade, but he announced via Instagram that he would be leaving the team Friday morning.
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) March 20, 2020
Griffen, was drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Griffen only started one game in his first four seasons and rotated in with Vikings legends Brian Robison and Jared Allen. Despite the lack of starts, Griffen played in 59/64 possible games in that stretch and recorded 17.5 sacks.
Prior to the 2014 season, Griffen signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract. The move to sign a non-starter to such a contract put some heat on GM Rick Spielman, but Griffen more than lived up to expectations by recording 43.5 sacks over the next four seasons.
Due to mental health issues, Griffen only played in 11 games in 2018, but still recorded 5.5 sacks. In 2019, Griffen played in all but one of the Vikings games and recorded 8.0 sacks, but voided the last three years of his contract in February of 2020.
The Vikings were in talks with Griffen to re-sign, but Griffen and his agent decided to break off negotiations with the Vikings up against the cap and with other needs still to be filled.
Griffen finishes his Vikings career fourth all-time for the team in sacks at 74.5. He also holds the record for longest blocked punt return in Vikings history, a 43-yard return against the Carolina Panthers in 2014. Griffen is affectionately known as the “Sack Daddy” and will certainly be missed by fans and teammates alike.
Skol Everson. We’ll always love you.