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Reports: Everson Griffen Restructuring Contract

The move will keep the Vikings defensive end around and likely free up cap space.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
We’re excited too!
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OK, maybe not the whole gang—Sheldon Richardson already left for the Browns. And there are still possible trades on the horizon—teams have reportedly shown interest in Trae Waynes. But still—more of the Minnesota Vikings defense will be returning for the 2019 season than many of us had thought possible.

Ian Rapoport was among a variety of sources reporting on Thursday afternoon that Everson Griffen will remain on the team for the upcoming season:

Griffen was due to have his $10.9 million salary fully guaranteed on Friday, which had put his future with the cash-strapped Vikings up in the air. Thankfully Griffen was apparently willing to restructure his contract. The move should provide some short-term salary cap relief for the team while allowing them to keep one of their impact players on a defense that has been dominant over the past couple seasons.

Calling Griffen’s 2018 season tumultuous might be understating it a bit. He was surprisingly absent from the the Vikings’ Week 3 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It was later reported that the star defensive end was dealing with mental health issues that led to law enforcement being involved in a bizarre episode in multiple places throughout the Twin Cities area the day before the Buffalo game. Griffen checked into a treatment center and eventually returned to the team in their Week 8 game against the Saints. He had an uneventful remainder of the season off the field, but it wasn’t incredibly eventful on the field either. Griffen ended the season with 5.5 sacks and 28 total pressures in 11 games, well off the pace of his stellar 2017 performance.

Even if Griffen doesn’t return to the lofty heights we saw back then, he’s still a very important piece of the Vikings defense. It’s great to see a player return the favor to the team that drafted him with the 100th overall pick in 2010 and stuck by him through his struggles last year. Griff has always been a fan favorite, and his willingness to restructure will only improve his status in that regard.

UPDATE 3:22 PM: According to Tom Pelissero and others, Griffen will earn around $8 million in 2019 instead of $10.9 million. The exact difference of the cap hit might vary though.

Pelissero also reported that Griffen now has a player option that allows him to void the last couple years of his deal if he meets minimum performance requirements.

UPDATE 3:42 PM: According to Courtney Cronin of ESPN, the restructure will provide $4.3 million in cap savings for the upcoming season.