Everson Griffen Expected to Return to Vikings Despite Opting out of Contract

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2020

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) prepares to defend against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said the team expects defensive end Everson Griffen to return to the squad after meeting with the player Tuesday night, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Griffen had the ability to void the final three years of his contract after hitting necessary on-field markers and he decided to opt out of the deal last week, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN.

However, he now has the opportunity to re-sign with the team and the Vikings believe he will do just that.

The 32-year-old had initially signed a four-year extension keeping him under contract through 2022, but a restructure last year allowed him to void the rest of the deal if he totaled at least six sacks and played 57 percent of his team's snaps.

He finished 2019 with eight sacks and played 78 percent of the Vikings snaps, per Pro Football Reference.

Despite his offseason decisions, Griffen has indicated his interest in remaining with the organization after playing his first 10 years in the same place.

"I want to be a Viking for life," the defensive end said in January, per Andrew Krammer of the Star-Tribune.

"I want to be here," Griffen added. "I love this team. I love this organization. They took great care of me when I needed it the most. I want to be a Viking. We'll see what happens."

Griffen earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection in five years last year and has 74 career sacks, including 57 in the last six years. He remains a key part of the defense that finished fifth in points allowed in 2019.

Though his contract voiding cleared $13 million in cap space, per Cronin, it's clear Minnesota wants him to remain on the roster going forward.

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