Defensive end Everson Griffen has made it no secret he wants to return to the Vikings.
Griffen, who made four Pro Bowls while playing for Minnesota from 2010-19, did not return to the team last year as a free agent. He signed with Dallas, where he played seven games, before being traded to Detroit to finish the season. In a phone interview Thursday, Griffen, 33, was asked if he wants to re-sign with the Vikings when he becomes a free agent in March.
“You tell them, I said, ‘If you want it, go get it,’” Griffen said. “You can put that.”
Asked for additional comment, Griffen said, “If you want it, come get it. That’s what I want you to say.’’ He then repeated several times, “If you want it, come get it.’’
Griffen took to Twitter this week to drop hints about wanting to come back, most often by retweeting Vikings fans who called for his return. On Tuesday, he retweeted a quote in which Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, “A priority for me is that we continue to get more pass rushers.”
During his Pro Bowl seasons, Griffen was one of the NFL’s top pass rushers. He had a career-high 13 sacks in 2017, when the Vikings went to the NFC Championship Game. This season, the Vikings had just 23 sacks, less than half the 48 they had in 2019.
The Vikings also were without two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter, who missed the entire season due to a herniated disc in his neck that required surgery.
Griffen signed a one-year contract with Dallas with a base salary of $3 million and $3 million additional in possible bonuses. He had six sacks in 2020, 2½ for the Cowboys and 3½ for the Lions while serving primarily as a rotation player. He started just two games, both for Detroit, and played about half the snaps in most games.
Griffen faced the Vikings twice with Detroit but didn’t get a sack in either game. Before the first meeting, Nov. 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium, he told reporters he was upset that Zimmer said Griffen was a “good” player for the Vikings, as opposed to a great one. Zimmer responded by saying he “wasn’t trying to be derogatory” with his comment.