Despite saying he was slighted by coach Mike Zimmer calling him merely a “good player” leading up to the game, former Vikings star defensive end Everson Griffen, along with running back Adrian Peterson — were all smiles after losing with the Lions, 34-20, in their return to U.S. Bank Stadium.
Griffen and Peterson approached the Vikings sideline afterward to gladhand with Zimmer and their former coaches and teammates.
While both had quiet performances, Griffen’s presence was felt with the trademark voice that drove the Vikings defense for half a decade. Griffen, now a Lions reserve after being traded from Dallas, impatiently waited on Detroit’s sideline to get into the game, checking with coaches between plays before getting the green light on the second drive.
Running back Dalvin Cook heard Griffen before he saw him.
“Griff still being him, still enjoying the game — that’s most important,” Cook said. “Outside of [football], off the field, that’s still my brother. I’m just happy he’s good mentally.”
Cook got into Griffen’s chest later in the third quarter, when a play-action pass called for Cook to fake taking a handoff before blocking Griffen on tight end Irv Smith Jr.’s 2-yard touchdown catch.
Griffen had some words for his former teammates
“Yeah, y’all want to bleep it out or what?” Cook said, laughing. “You know how Griff is, now. It was some words being exchanged.”
Griffen had more words for the Vikings’ sideline after deflecting a third-down pass from Kirk Cousins in the second quarter.
His bark was booming from the minute he hit the field for pregame warmups.
“You hear his voice from the other sideline saying, ‘Some music would be nice!’ ” Cousins recalled. “Just asking the P.A. guy to play more music. He brought that juice for the Vikings for a decade. I remember in 2018 when I first got here, he was bringing that juice, and then when we lost him for part of that year, it affects your locker room.”
Neither Griffen nor Peterson participated in the Lions’ postgame video news conference.
Cook and Peterson, who had eight carries for 29 yards, met postgame at midfield on top of the Norseman logo for a moment together.
“When I got drafted, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Cook said. “Thought I was going to be a guy that just came in and played behind Adrian. But they drafted me to come play right away, and I had to be ready. I was just a kid; didn’t know.”
Peterson, the 35-year-old former NFL MVP who called Cook a “lethal weapon” leading up to kickoff, hugged Cook after the current Vikings star racked up 252 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage.
“I’m just glad I got a chance to watch him growing up,” Cook said. “It was something special. for me He don’t know how he impacted my career as far as a running back. I appreciate him for everything. Just for being my big brother for anything. All Day, just keep doing you, man.”