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Updated: October 11th, 2012 4:06pm
Everson Griffen away indefinitely after mother's sudden passing

Everson Griffen away indefinitely after mother's sudden passing

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen will be given as much time as he needs away from the team after the unexpected death of his mother on Wednesday.

Griffen's mother was visiting her son in the Twin Cities, according to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, when she passed. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Frazier said the Vikings were meeting on Wednesday when he got a call to bring Griffen to the coach's office upstairs at Winter Park. Eden Prairie police then told Griffen about the tragic news.

"As you can imagine, it was tough," Frazier said Thursday. "There was nothing that could have prepared him for that news. He wasn't here (Thursday). I'm not sure what his status will be going forward.

"Our prayers as an organization, as well as his teammates, are with him and his family. This is a difficult time for him, as you can imagine, and we'll be there to support him as best we can. ... He loved his mom, like we all do. And to have no clue that something like this was on the horizon it was tough. It's still tough, obviously."

Frazier and several Vikings players visited Griffen at his home on Wednesday evening to offer their condolences.

"I was so, so impressed with our players," Frazier said. "Just the support, the way they reached out to him. Some of the guys that were there, the maturity that they showed. I drove away from his home (and) obviously you feel terrible for Everson and his family, but to see the support that our players displayed and the way they handled themselves. I was really encouraged by that. Really encouraged."

Griffen, who was drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round in 2010, is a backup at both end positions and is tied for the team lead with three sacks this season. Griffen had a couple of run-ins with the law in the winter of 2011 in the Los Angeles area, but Frazier talked Thursday about how much the 24-year-old has matured.

"Everson means a lot to me, like all our guys do, and I've seen the maturation in his life," Frazier said. "I told him that (Wednesday) night. I know his mom would be so proud of how he has grown up and become a young man that has made her very proud. It's hard to see him hurting. I lost my mother not long ago, I know what that experience is like, and it's hard. It's hard."

As far as whether Griffen will rejoin the team for Sunday's game in Washington, or when he might be back, Frazier said that will be Griffen's call.

"It's purely up to him when. There's no timetable. I explained that to him (Wednesday)," Frazier said. "He needs to go through the grieving process properly and don't be thinking about football. Just doing whatever he needs to do away from football. His mom was very, very close to him. This is going to be a tough deal for him."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd