Everson Griffen not concerned about past fines, contract numbers
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Everson Griffen doesn't think about the two fines that cost him $31,500 last season -- the most of any Minnesota Vikings' defensive lineman.
Entering the final year of his contract, Griffen said after Tuesday's organized team activities that fines or his fight for a new contract would not alter his playing style, even if he remains one of the lowest-paid players along the defensive line.
"I let my agent do the work," Griffen said. "I would like to play here my whole career, but I just need to take care of my responsibility, let my work speak for itself."
Griffen was fined $15,750 for hitting Aaron Rodgers on the head at Green Bay last season and was slapped with the same fee for a hit on Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert that didn't draw a flag.
"You just go out there and play ball," Griffen said. "When the QB's staring you down, you go get him. There's no trying to aim and hit his head. I'm out there playing football the best I can for my family."
Griffen, 25, finished with nine sacks, second-highest on the team, and is due $710,000 this year. He is alongside four other defensive linemen - Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Fred Evans and Brian Robison - who are playing for a new contract in 2013.
Compared to Allen ($17 million), Robison ($6.67 million), Williams ($4.9 million) and Evans ($1.75 million), Griffen is a steal in 2013 as one of only four defensive linemen, joining Allen, Robison, and Williams, that played more than half the snaps last season.
Serving mainly as a sub along the interior, Griffen shined when Robison's shoulder injury sidelined him in games against St. Louis and Houston.
In 2013, Griffen said he will look to impress the coaching staff the same way he did when he stepped in at left end and returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown against the Rams and recovered a fumble to seal the game against the Texans.
"It's just hustling," Griffen said. "Running to the ball more, everybody can do that. That's how you create turnovers, coaches like it and it's good for you in conditioning."
But neither the fines nor the contract will have an effect on Griffen's mindset as he enters one of the most important seasons in his young NFL career.
"I let my agent take care of it," Griffen said. "Try to get that contract extension, or whatever happens."