Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press
If given consistent playing time, Everson Griffen could become one of the NFL's top pass rushers.
The Minnesota Vikings are halfway to solving their starting defensive end situation for 2014.
They signed Brian Robison to a long-term deal during the 2013 season, setting up the 30-year-old to be a Viking through the 2017 season.
Now, the big decision: re-sign Everson Griffen or Jared Allen?
It's a no-brainer.
Allen is 31, slowing down and unwilling to take a pay cut (he counted for roughly $17 million against the 2013 salary cap).
Griffen is 26, has recorded 13.5 sacks over the past two seasons in a reduced role and counted for $765,000 against the 2013 salary cap (he'll be due a good raise).
The younger and (likely) cheaper Griffen should be the focus.
The Vikings approached Griffen during the season about an extension, but he said the offer wasn't adequate.
Now, it's unknown what type of contract Griffen is after. So the Vikings shouldn't blindly give him what he wants. But they should listen very closely and ensure he knows he is their top priority.
The Vikings gave Robison $28.3 million over four seasons. A deal with a similar per-year salary would be appropriate.
If Allen changes his stance on a pay cut...that makes things interesting.
But Minnesota should have its eyes set on locking up at least one.
Losing both would set them back.