Everson Griffen’s absence from the Vikings’ sideline on Sunday came after an incident at the Hotel Ivy on Saturday in downtown Minneapolis. Griffen did not play in the game because of a knee injury, but the fact he wasn’t at U.S. Bank Stadium came as a surprise.
Coach Mike Zimmer called it a “personal matter” when asked why Griffen wasn’t in attendance for Minnesota’s loss to Buffalo.
Ryan Raiche of KSTP-TV reported that, according to police records, a person at the hotel was verbally threatening to shoot someone on Saturday afternoon. The Minneapolis Police Department redacted the person’s name from the report, but a source confirmed to KSTP that it was Griffen.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported on Twitter that Griffen is being evaluated at a Twin Cities hospital and that concerns about his mental health predate this past weekend.
During the Saturday incident, hotel staff moved to the back of the office while Griffen paced around the lobby and threatened to assault staff members. A police dispatcher said the suspect said to the staff that if someone would not let him into his room he was going to shoot someone but no gun was ever seen. He also was laying on the floor at one point.
Griffen, 30, was not arrested and Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder told KSTP the man left on his own accord and the caller was no longer cooperative. Elder said the situation did not warrant further investigation.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman provided KSTP with a statement, saying: “We are aware of the situation involving Everson Griffen and certainly concerned by what we have heard. We are currently focused on Everson’s well-being and providing the appropriate support for him and his family.”
Griffen had been declared out of Sunday’s game on Friday because of a knee injury but injured players usually attend home games. It’s not known if Griffen will travel with the Vikings to Los Angeles for Thursday’s game against the Rams.
Here are Pelissero’s tweets on what’s been going on with Griffen:
Adding to this: Everson Griffen is being evaluated at a local hospital, I’m told. Again, concerns about his mental health predate last weekend. Two team sources strongly deny a report Griffen was arrested in another alleged incident. https://t.co/Lr6q0Xfiyx
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 25, 2018
Griffen, who fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft in part because of character concerns, was arrested twice in a three-day span in January 2011 in Los Angeles. The first arrest was for public drunkenness and the second came after he failed to produce identification after being pulled over and attempted to elude officers on foot. Police used a taser on Griffen in that case.
But Griffen got his career on track and became a starter in 2014. He signed a $58 million, four-year contract extension in 2017 and had been named to the Pro Bowl each of the last three years. He had a career-high 13 sacks last season despite playing the second half of the season with a foot injury. Griffen has 44.5 sacks since moving into a starting role for the Vikings, including one this season.