UPDATE 8:33 PM: Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune has the specifics of Griffin's contract:
Michael Griffin deal is officially a one-year deal for $2.5 million with $750,000 guaranteed. Can earn another $500,000 through incentives.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) March 10, 2016
Hopefully the reward will be higher than the relatively low risk.
The Vikings may have just signed their free agent safety of the future!
No, not George Iloka. Not his teammate Reggie Nelson. And maybe not the next few on your list.
But still, they addressed the safety position on day 1 of free agency just like everyone wanted! Just maybe not with the guy you expected. Ian Rapoport and other media outlets have reported that the Vikings are signing veteran safety Michael Griffin.
Griffin was drafted by the Tennessee Titans out of Texas with the 19th overall pick in 2007 and had been a mainstay in the Titans backfield ever since. Griffin has played in 141 games (starting 133), racking up 25 interceptions, seven sacks, and 569 tackles over nine seasons in Tennessee. However, the Titans released Griffin after the 2015 season after a down year. Pro Football Focus gave Griffin a rating of 67.0 out of 100 last year, good for only the 60th among all NFL safeties. (By contrast, Andrew Sendejo was ranked 85th by PFF.)
The commitment to Griffin isn't a huge risk for the Vikings. According to Mike Garaofolo:
One year, $3 million for S Michael Griffin to head to the Vikings after nine years in Tennessee.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2016
A one-year contract for a 30-year-old safety who has declined over the past few years and was cut by the only team he ever played for probably isn't the solution most Vikings fans had in mind when they wanted the team to go after a safety in free agency. That said, Griffin should still be able to compete with the likes of Sendejo, Anthony Harris, and maybe even Terence Newman for the starting gig alongside Harrison Smith.
The Vikings haven't exactly made a huge splash in the first official day of the 2016 season, but they have been much more active than in recent seasons early on. Spielman, Zimmer, and the rest of the Minnesota front office seem to be focused on building depth and competition for starting jobs without breaking the bank in the early stages.
Stay tuned for much more and catch up with every detail of free agency on our 2016 Free Agency Tracker.