Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen had a tough 2018, missing five games and six total starts due to a medical issue. He appears to be ready to have a big 2019.
“He is a man on a mission,” Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly said Friday, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “He’s coming for everything and more. He’s motivated, he’s driven. He’s back in front leading the group, and we’re going to go as far as he goes.”
Griffen doesn’t see his performance as the product of being driven to have a big year.
“It’s not really about motivation, it’s about being disciplined,” Griffen said, via Tomasson. “Last year was hard, but I got the right team around me now and my teammates, the coaches, the whole organization behind me, and that feels good. And I just stay disciplined, stay consistent and keep on doing what I’m doing.”
As Tomasson points out, Griffen agreed to slash his salary from $10.9 million to $6.4 million for the coming year. That may end up being a bargain for the Vikings.
“He made some really good plays,” Weatherly said of Griffen. “Pass-rushing plays, he was where he was needed. Run plays. He knew everything. He was making all the right plays.”
Griffen remained pragmatic about the situation.
“We’re out here to get better,” Griffen said. “We’ve got one thing in common, and that’s to win games.”
The Vikings didn’t win enough in 2018. This year, they’ve made a conscious effort to address weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball. The defense has fewer weaknesses; if they can get Griffen back to a high level of performance, the Minnesota defense will have an abundance of strengths, at every level.