After spending a decade with the organization, Everson Griffen’s time in Minnesota has come to a close.
Griffen, the Vikings’ longtime defensive end, voided the last three years on his deal in February via a player-controlled void option written into his deal, according to ESPN. He thanked the state in a lengthy Instagram post on Friday.
“When I came to Minnesota as a fourth-round pick out of USC, I had no idea how much my life would change over the next 10 years,” he wrote, in part.
“While it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, I leave Minnesota in the best physical and mental shape I have ever been and have many Pro Bowl seasons to come. Wherever my next stop is, I will always be grateful to and cheering for the Vikings.”
Griffen was selected by the Vikings with the 100th overall pick in the 2010 draft. He has been a staple in their defensive front ever since, recording 355 total tackles and 74.5 sacks, the fourth-most in franchise history, over 10 seasons. He’s started in 87 games since becoming a full-time starter in the 204 season, and recorded 41 total tackles, eight sacks and one interception last year.
The 32-year-old missed time during the 2018 season after a pair of off-field incidents, including one at a Minneapolis-area hotel, that resulted in him seeking treatment for his mental health. He rejoined the team five weeks later.
His decision to leave Minnesota will free up more than $13 million in cap space for the Vikings, per the report. It’s unclear where he will end up this fall.
Despite the financial advantage, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had said this offseason that he hoped Griffen would return to the team again this fall.
“Everson’s a terrific person for us,” Zimmer said at the NFL combine last month, via ESPN. “I think our situation is the right one for him, and we expect him to be back. I think he wants to be back, so those kinds of things usually work their way out.”
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