Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Tuesday defensive end Everson Griffen is in a “very good spot now” two weeks into his return to the team after a five-week absence to address a mental health issue that led to two police incidents in September.
“Everson has done everything he’s been asked to do by the professional medical people he’s working with and beyond,” Spielman said. “Everson is in a very good spot now. But it’s not OK today — it’s an ongoing thing. Everson is hellbent on being a success story. But I want to make sure as an organization we put all the pieces in place to make sure that he has the best chance of success.”
While declining to be specific, Spielman said the Vikings have “a pretty good program in place” for players and other employees who need treatment for mental health concerns.
“I’ll just say ownership is going to provide the resources necessary, but at times it has to be the person, too, who has to be willing to go get the help,” Spielman said. “And the resources are available.”
Cousins seeks context
Quarterback Kirk Cousins already has a career-high six fumbles lost through nine games this season.
For better context to that number, Cousins said he’s asked the Vikings deep-data department to give him a better sense of how many fumbles are directly his fault, such as when Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes hit him while on the run and jarred the ball loose.
“We didn’t have an analytics department in the past where I’ve been,” Cousins said. “So, having somebody you can go to and say, ‘Hey, I need a number on this.’ That’s a huge benefit.
“I think that’s where sports is going. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to tap into all of it.”
No trades at deadline
The NFL trade deadline passed last week without a peep from the Vikings. It didn’t sound like the Vikings were close to striking a deal with anybody, according to Spielman, who noted the team’s tight salary cap situation and inherent caution toward making an external splash during the season.
“I’ve made some mistakes when you make trades during the year,” Spielman said. “How quickly, especially depending on the position, is it going to make a difference?
“But I think how we’ve structured our roster, how we’ve built it, the way we’ve done our contracts, that we’re always going to kind of do this from within.”
Gedeon stands out
Linebacker Ben Gedeon made a play in coverage against the Lions that earlier this season had been completed for a touchdown against the Vikings.
That’s why the Lions sent running back Kerryon Johnson on a route into the flat and upfield to the end zone against Gedeon, who was in position to prevent the touchdown in Sunday’s 24-9 win against Detroit.
“It’s been good,” Gedeon said. “Challenged a couple times on wheel routes and stuff like that. There are formations we look at through the week, too, where we know they’re coming, so that’s a testament to our linebackers and the film study.”
Big plays mostly gone
The Vikings defense enters the bye week having allowed just two pass plays of 20-plus yards in the previous two games against the Saints and Lions. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson credits improved play against play-action bootlegs, a concept he said “exposed” them early in the season.
“We been seeing a lot more boot-actions since the Buffalo game, since San Francisco, honestly,” Richardson said. “Buffalo just happened to expose us, and we’ve made adjustments. We’ve eliminated most of the big plays — most of them.”