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Vikings’ Everson Griffen reportedly in mental health facility

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates sack with defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (93) in the first half of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers in Minneapolis, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The incident involving Everson Griffen on Saturday at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis was the continuation of recent erratic behavior by the Vikings defensive end that, according to the Star Tribune, has him at a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Griffen will not travel with the team to Los Angeles on Tuesday evening for Thursday’s game against the Rams.

Griffen was reportedly sent home from Vikings’ practice on Saturday, according to a report from the Minnetrista Police Department that was obtained by KSTP-TV. Les Pico, the Vikings’ player development director, told police that the team sent a letter to Griffen and his agent last Thursday informing them Griffen would not be allowed back without a mental health evaluation.

Pico also is quoted in the report as saying Griffen “has been really struggling for the past few weeks,” and “during practice (last) week, Everson had been explosive, screaming and yelling in the workplace.” Added Pico: “Everson has paranoia and has been repeating himself lately.”

After being told to leave practice, Griffen went to the Hotel Ivy, where he had been staying during the week after leaving his home. Employees called the police when Griffen made threats and at one point laid on the floor. He also threatened to shoot someone if he wasn’t let in his room but no gun was seen.

Griffen eventually left the hotel and did not play in the Vikings’ 27-6 loss to Buffalo on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium after being held out of practice last week because of a knee injury. Griffen, 30, had been declared out of that game on Friday but his absence from the Vikings’ sideline was surprising.

Griffen’s erratic behavior continued in the Minnetrista neighborhood where he ordinarily lives with his wife and children. The incident report states that Griffen went to teammate Trae Waynes’ home, which is just down the road, and was trying to break into the house, jumped through some bushes and was shirtless.

Waynes issued a statement regarding that situation:

A few minutes later, Griffen’s wife again called police to tell them he was now in a car with a man that Griffen didn’t know. That man had called Griffen’s wife and he brought Griffen home but told police upon arrival that he “didn’t feel safe at all.” Griffen had gotten in the man’s car at a gas station and left his own vehicle behind.

Officers observed Griffen yelling, “about ‘777’ and that he went to Waynes’ house because ‘God made me do it.'” Griffen’s wife told police that Everson’s behavior happens from “time to time as he is fighting with ‘demons’ in his head and that it’s normal for him to run away.” 

Griffen agreed with police to be transported by ambulance to the hospital for mental health treatment after the man returned him to his house, but shortly after the paramedics left the scene they requested police assistance. When the police arrived, they found Griffen outside the ambulance walking on the side of the road with his hands in the air. Police told Griffen to get back in the ambulance and he did.

“In speaking with one of the paramedics, they stated that a few deer ran across the road and while they were driving Griffen got up and jumped out of the ambulance because he was in fear that someone was going to shoot him,” the incident report read. “They requested Griffen to lay down on the stretcher which he refused to do.”

Griffen, who was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Vikings in 2010, was arrested twice in three days in Los Angeles in 2011. The first time was for public intoxication and the second was for driving with an invalid license.

Griffen has turned himself into a top pass-rushing end in the NFL and has been elected to the Pro Bowl for the past three seasons. He signed a $58 million, four-year contract extension in 2017 and had a career-high 13 sacks that season.

“The only thing we’re really concerned about for Everson isn’t anything to do with football,” Zimmer said Tuesday. “It’s about him getting better. In the five years that I’ve been here, I’ve always loved Everson. The effort that he puts out, the work that he does, the chants you count on him at game time, even at practice. He’s always been a really, really good model for us and obviously he’s going through some tough times now.”

The Minnetrista Incident Report states there are no criminal charges forthcoming against Griffen since no crime was committed.


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