The Everson Griffen Speculation Mill Is Still Percolating
Gone are the early February days stuffed with speculation that Kirk Cousins would be traded to the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans. All destinations – especially San Francisco – were hotspots for the Cousins-trade rumor mill.
However, the offseason is still hopping, speculation included — and the Minnesota Vikings oddly have about $14 million to spend on free agents. Those funds could be used to acquire new talent, ensuring the 2021 depth chart is in tip-top shape. Or – long-term contracts can be secured, focusing on players like Harrison Smith and Brian O’Neill, two men seemingly destined for contract extensions. Too, general manager Rick Spielman could save the cap space for a rainy day, although the Vikings rarely use that strategy heading into a season.
Two areas on the Vikings roster squirm a bit from a peace-of-mind standpoint. The franchise has scanted at the WR3 position arguably since the days of Jarius Wright. Before him, it was probably the 2013 season when the team had a few dudes that were “pretty decent” wide receivers, hence employing a good WR3 in Jerome Simpson, Cordarrelle Patterson, or the aforementioned Wright (whomever the beholder interpreted as WR3).
Once and for all with the $14 million, Spielman could reasonably sign Dede Westbrook, Larry Fitzgerald, or Golden Tate. But we shall see – will the Vikings really decide to begin a revamped interest in WR3 when they’ve skimped for a few years? Maybe.
After that, the right defensive end spot remains mysterious. The Week 1 starter could be Stephen Weatherly – he kicked off free-agent signing festivities for Minnesota this spring. Patrick Jones II, a rookie, might start if his July and August showings at training camp sizzle. Then, D.J. Wonnum constructed some big moments during his maiden voyage. Three men – none of which have an established record of quarterback terrorism.
Should the team seek to act in a nostalgic fashion [or merely upgrade], well, the Everson Griffen chatter simply won’t die. Thursday offered another installment for Griffen speculation:
Paul Allen on KFAN said DE Everson Griffen “desperately wants to come back to the Minnesota #Vikings.”
Griffen texted Allen that he “bleeped up” with his tweets regarding Cousins and that it was wrong.
Allen also mentioned Griffen still has people in his corner with the team
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) July 1, 2021
Griffen was a Viking for a full decade, smashing opposing quarterbacks all the way to the fourth-most sacks in team history with 74.5 – behind John Randle (114.0), Chris Doleman (96.5), and Jared Allen (85.5). One caveat: The NFL began formally tracking sack totals in 1982, so notable people-eating Vikings like Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, and Alan Page are excluded. Rest assured, those three players would rank one-two-three if the NFL went back and studied pre-1982 sacks.
The Vikings could use Griffen. While his two stops in 2020 (Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions) were not laced with team prosperity, his performance was actually commendable. He played about 25% of the time on defensive snaps, accruing six sacks in 2020 and 23 quarterback pressures.
His familiarity with Mike Zimmer’s defense is obvious, his personality outspoken. Tweets were a problem for Griffen early in the offseason, firing off some whimsical anti-Vikings stuff on social media. He apologized and has been rather quiet on Twitter ever since.
Griffen will play somewhere in 2021 as his pass-rush acumen is too robust for the USC alumnus to marinate on the free-agent waiver wire.
We shall see if his “desperately wants to come back” wish reaches the eardrums of the Vikings front office. Minnesota could use a sack merchant on the non-Danielle Hunter side of the 2021 defensive trenches. Griffen’s done it before.