The Vikings will re-sign another highly coveted unrestricted free agent before free agency begins on Tuesday. The team has agreed to terms with defensive end Everson Griffen on a five-year deal worth $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed, according to three NFL sources. Griffen will make $27 million over the first three years of his deal.
Jared Allen's agent, Ken Harris, confirmed tonight that Allen would not be returning to the Vikings. Harris said there are five teams in the bidding for Allen, with three standing out.
Harris said the Vikings and Allen reached the parting of ways on Saturday night. Allen's six-year, $72 million deal expired last season.
As well, Jasper Brinkley (@Jasperhitman54) tweeted that he was rejoining the Vikings. He was the team's starting middle linebacker in 2012 before signing with Arizona for last season. When reached by phone, Brinkley said the contract was for one year.
Griffen was excited by his new deal.
“I’m going to rise to the occasion because that’s who I am," he said. "The Minnesota Vikings know that, and I’m ready to rise to the occasion and give them everything I’ve got.”
Griffen was considered one of the best defensive ends in free agency with Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who the Vikings made contact with on Saturday when the three-day negotiating window opened.
Griffen has made just one start in four seasons with the Vikings as a backup defensive end to Brian Robison and Allen. Griffen has been a flexible option in the past as a defensive lineman that could play all four positions.
“They’re going to use me; I haven’t been used and it’s time,” Griffen said. “The money is always a good thing but at the same time I finally get to be used. Coach [Mike] Zimmer…coach Zimmer, yeah coach Zimmer is going to use me. The Minnesota Vikings are going to use me in every way possible. The only thing you guys can do is wait, just wait for this to erupt.
Griffen said family and Vikings Zimmer’s style were two important factors into his decision to stay in Minnesota. He is engaged and has an 18-month-old son, Grayson
“It doesn’t mean everything to everyone but it means the world to us,” Griffen said. “It’s special and happy to be there and be a part of the Minnesota Vikings.”
Griffen said Zimmer is the best fit because of his blunt mentality. He wants Zimmer to criticize and praise him when it’s warranted.
“I don’t need a coach to beat around the bush,” Griffen said. “I need a coach that’ll be in my face and tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right. What I’m doing wrong, that’s all I care about. I don’t care what I’m doing right. When I’m doing right, I know what I’m doing right. When I’m doing wrong, tell me.”
The Vikings agreed to terms with quarterback Matt Cassel on Friday and have now filled their two biggest needs before free agency officially begins on Tuesday at 3 p.m CT.
“We’re not talking about losing; we’re talking about winning man,” Griffen said. “No, the Minnesota Vikings, we’re on the up rise right now. I just want to win and be great.”