The Vikings know defensive end Everson Griffen better than any other team, and they knew him better than any of the free-agent pass rushers.
The Vikings apparently believe in Griffen. In a major way.
Despite a couple of off-field issues early in his career, a short-term move to linebacker in 2012, and one career start in four seasons, the Vikings gave Griffen $19.8 million in fully-guaranteed money at signing, per a source with knowledge of the contract.
It comes from a $6 million signing bonus, and fully guaranteed base salaries of $6.9 million in 2014 and 2015.
The deal includes workout bonuses of $100,000 per year, base salaries of $6.9 million in 2016 and 2017, and a base salary of $8.4 million in 2018.
Griffen knows the Vikings expect him to step up. His contract definitely pays him under the assumption that he will.
UPDATE 10:44 p.m. ET: The numbers outlined above come from an NFLPA breakdown of the contract. An NFL source says that the 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury only until the third day of the 2015 league year. That would reduce the full guarantee to $12.9 million. If accurate, it’s still a lot of guaranteed money for a guy with one career start.