Defensive end Everson Griffen, the longest-tenured Vikings player, embarked on an offseason of uncertainty after cleaning out his locker Sunday for what could be the last time.
Griffen, 32, is a free agent, as his restructured contract voided the final three years after he reached performance and playing-time benchmarks this season. Griffen said he has “maybe three or four” more years left in his NFL career.
“I want to be a Viking for life,” Griffen said, “but it’s a business, so we’ll figure that out when the time gets here.”
Griffen enjoyed a comeback season as he continued care for his mental health following a five-game absence in 2018 because of two police incidents. This year, he played 15 games and tied the Bears’ Khalil Mack with 70 quarterback pressures (eight sacks).
“Coming off the year I had [in 2018],” Griffen said, “it feels good to be at this point.”
Griffen reiterated he wants his final “three or four” years to be with the Vikings.
“I want to be here,” Griffen said. “I love this team. I love this organization. They took great care of me when I needed it the most. I want to be a Viking. We’ll see what happens.”
Free agency ‘scary’
Asked to describe how it feels heading into free agency for the first time, defensive end Stephen Weatherly paused a second to think.
“Um,” he said, “scary.”
“I don’t know what’s about to happen,” he said.
Weatherly said he “absolutely” wants to re-sign with the Vikings, having spent four years developing relationships and his game as a 2016 seventh-round draft pick.
“I have a lot of great friends, lifelong friends I’ve made in these four years,” he said. “It’s a great place and I have a lot of roots that I’ve developed here. It would be awesome [to come back] but I don’t know what’s about to happen.”
Tight end David Morgan could remain with the Vikings should the final year of his rookie contract toll into 2020, a possibility since he spent the season on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list after “a couple” knee surgeries to repair a cartilage issue, Morgan said Sunday.
Morgan, 26, most recently went under the knife in late October and said he is “ahead of schedule” while determined to continue his career.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” Morgan said. “I could be here. I could be elsewhere, so it’s really stuff that’s not in my hands.”
Linebacker Eric Kendricks, a first-team All-Pro selection, said he finally looked back to appreciate his career-best season that ended with an interception off San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Saturday.
“This morning at breakfast,” Kendricks said, “I reflected a little bit. I’m just blessed to have this opportunity, did a lot of good things. I feel like I can elevate my game even more.”
Punter and holder Britton Colquitt said if you liked the Vikings’ field-goal operation this season, which saw Dan Bailey rank fourth with 93.1% converted, then imagine what the holder can do for Bailey given a full offseason together. Both Bailey and Colquitt are pending free agents and might be priority re-signings after they were paired together days before Week 1.
“[Bailey] got a nice $1 million bonus,” Colquitt deadpanned. “I’m waiting on my caddie fee.”
Linebacker Kentrell Brothers, a 2016 fifth-round pick, is another pending free agent who could be on the move to a different NFL team. Brothers said he “adapted” well to his special teams roles.
“As a rookie, I was expecting different things probably like most rookies,” Brothers said. “I feel like I left as much of a mark as I could for what I was given.”
Seven for the future
The Vikings signed seven players, including six from this season’s practice squad, to reserve/future contracts that will put them on the 2020 offseason roster.
Quarterback Jake Browning, tight end Brandon Dillon, running back Tony Brooks-James, receiver Davion Davis, cornerback Mark Fields, cornerback Kemon Hall and cornerback Marcus Sayles were signed.
Staff writers Mark Craig and Jerry Zgoda contributed to this report.