Since Griffen opted out of his contract in 2020, we’ve seen him saying that he wants to be back. Last week it happened again, according to Paul Allen. Although Griffen is arguably one of the best DE to wear purple and gold, he would probably bring more cons than pros. Let’s start with the pros.
First of all, we’re talking about someone who knows the system inside out. He played six years under Zimmer and knows exactly what both Zim and Andre Patterson want. Although he’s turning 34 at the end of the year, Griffen still has some gas in the tank. He racked 6.0 sacks, 14 QB hits, and 7 TFL while playing roughly 25% of the snaps.
He and Hunter can do wonders on the improvement of second-year DJ Wonnum and rookies Patrick Jones and Janarius Robinson. Griffen is still a very loved guy by many players and coaches in the locker room and has the kind of leadership that it’s hard to find.
Well, the first one is that he’s turning 34. At the twilight of his career, we don’t know when he’ll start to steeply decline. We also don’t know if his presence is going to take snaps from Wonnum, Jones, and Robinson, a group from which we expect one starter. Maybe his return could mean that one of those three is going to the practice squad. If he’s coming to battle with Stephen Weatherly, then it’s another story, and I personally believe Griffen can offer more both on and off the field than Weatherly.
The biggest con, though, is how things will be with Kirk Cousins. For those who don’t remember, in January Griffen said that Kirk is trash and Zimmer never wanted him. At the time, he was already saying that he wanted to be back. Although it happened six months ago, it’s fair to assume things may be weird between him, Cousins, and Zimmer.
Just remembering everyone that this is my opinion, and feel free to comment yours. To me, it would depend on both his contract and his role. If he really wants to be back, he won’t ask for much money. A dream scenario would be a little more than a vet minimum, maybe a little more, and Griffen replacing Weatherly, not a young DE.
Another thing important to keep in mind. Next year Cousins’s cap hit is $45M, the Vikings need to extend O’Neill, Smith, and probably will make Hunter one of the highest-payed EDGEs in the NFL. The NFL and the NFLPA set a ceiling of $208.2M. Assuming that’s the next year’s cap, only Cousin’s contract would take 21.6%. If the Vikings don’t use the $14M they have now, they can have up to $222M to spend next year, an extra money that would really come in handy.