Everson Griffen set to leave Vikings; Browns, Cowboys have interest in Pro Bowl pass rusher


After 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings, Everson Griffen is moving on. Almost a month after opting out of his contract with the team, the veteran pass rusher has cut off negotiations with Minnesota regarding a potential reunion, setting his sights instead on landing elsewhere in free agency.

That’s according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who relayed Friday a statement from Griffen’s agent, Brian Murphy: “We have broken off talks with Minnesota because they have to spend their money elsewhere and we decided to now focus our attention on free agency.”

The 32-year-old Griffen initiated his potential departure by opting out, voiding the final three seasons of a four-year extension inked in 2017, but all signs previously pointed to the defensive end re-signing with the Vikings on a smaller deal earlier this offseason. Coach Mike Zimmer, in fact, even went out of his way to say Minnesota wanted Griffen back, and Griffen himself said following the 2019 season that he desired to be a “Viking for life.”

Now, it appears the divorce is final. It’s unclear if money remained a sticking point, but the Vikings remain one of the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL, even after cutting other notable defensive starters like Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph to save money. 

Griffen, on the other hand, is expected to find a relatively hot market now that he’s publicly moved on from Minnesota.

CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker reports that the Dallas Cowboys have interest in the 32-year-old defensive end, and Griffen himself has already hinted the interest is mutual. Dallas just recently struck a three-year agreement with fellow veteran D-lineman Gerald McCoy but figures to be in the market for help opposite Demarcus Lawrence.

The Cleveland Browns are also a likely suitor, according to a league source, as they weigh the future of DE Olivier Vernon. The Browns have been more than willing to shell out money for defensive help this offseason, they remain flush with cap space, and they’ve got several notable connections to Griffen from his time in Minnesota — including coach Kevin Stefanski and defensive assistant Jeff Howard, who spent seven years on the Vikings’ staff.

Griffen missed five games in 2018 due to some headlining mental-health issues, but he rebounded in 2019 with eight sacks and the fourth Pro Bowl nod of his career. The former All-Pro has played at least 15 games in eight of his last nine seasons, and he’s had at least eight sacks in six of his last eight years.





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